Luisa Pearce smashes the Guinness World

Local woman Luisa Pearce smashes the Guinness World Record for the fastest crossing of the Sahara Desert in a wheelchair and on crutches


Local woman Luisa Pearce along with her support team and members from David Lloyd Kings Hill, have just completed a 60 mile trek across the Sahara smashing the Guinness World Record* for the fastest crossing of the Sahara in a wheelchair.


The 14 person team included six staff members from the health and fitness club, a further eight club and family members, who endured seven long days in blistering 40 degree temperatures to complete the feat. Alongside extreme heat the team were dealt a thunder and lightning storm, a sand storm and witnessed rare sights such as a desert mirage and a moon "halo".


The Kings Hill racquets, health and fitness team have worked closely with Luisa over the last

eighteen months throughout her recovery following serious health complications after surgery left her unable to walk. Luisa, who joined the club in May 2015 had been told by doctors that she would never be able to walk again following the surgery in September 2014, is now able to walk with the use of crutches after months of intensive exercise and physiotherapy.


The team are raising funds for the charity Freedom for Wheels, which was set up by Luisa to

provide specially adapted wheelchairs and specialist physiotherapy and gym services for users looking to take part in sports and achieve their own physical challenges. Luisa hopes that the expedition will inspire others to overcome their own challenges, and to show that disability is not inability.


As a result of Luisa’s remarkable journey and the tremendous support that the team have given her, the David Lloyd Kings Hill team have been shortlisted for the Members Achievement Award at the prestigious National Fitness Awards, an annual event which celebrates excellence and achievement in gyms throughout the country. Trophies will then be handed out a glittering awards ceremony on Friday 2nd December at The Athena in Leicester.


Luisa said “Completing this trip and breaking the Guinness World Record at the same time means the world to the team. The days were exhausting and gruelling with many highs and lows, but the amazing feeling of completing the trek and the pinnacle of reaching the top of the highest sand dune in the region, Erg Zaher, at a whopping 300 metres high makes all the physio and gym hours worthwhile.


“I had a crazy dream to cross the Sahara to show that disability is not inability as long as you have people willing to help, those people being who I have met through David Lloyd. From the General Manager to the housekeeping team along with the kindness and support of the members, some of whom have joined me and have now made that a reality.”


Lauren Mortimer, General Manager of David Lloyd Kings Hill, “I speak for the rest of my team when I say that our crossing of the Sahara Desert has been one of the most exhilarating and memorable moments ever.”


Lauren continued, “We are privileged to have the opportunity to support such an inspirational

member as Luisa. Her sheer determination and hard work has meant that her progress has defied all expectations. She has worked incredibly hard, often working out for several hours a day, six days a week. Her incredible support team here at the club have been alongside her every step of the way."




*subject to verification by the Guinness World Records adjudicators.



About David Lloyd Leisure Group

The David Lloyd Leisure Group operates 83 clubs in the UK and a further 11 clubs across Europe, comprising David Lloyd Clubs , Harbour Clubs, plus the new high street concept, David Lloyd Studio. It has approximately 460,000 members and employs 6,000 people. This includes an expert health and fitness team of over 1,800, while it contracts the services of more than 400 tennis professionals. Across all clubs, David Lloyd Leisure has over 150 swimming pools (of which half are indoor) and offers over 10,000 exercise classes per week. Every week 20,000 children learn to swim at David Lloyd Leisure and 12,500 learn to play tennis. Its racquets facilities are unparalleled with 800 tennis courts as well as 180 badminton courts and 140 squash courts. Additional facilities include health and beauty spas, club lounges with free internet access, crèches, nurseries and specialist sports shops

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