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The Orbis Challenge: meet Polly

  • 2 min read

This October, with the help of Tribe Sports,Orbis Expeditions is sending Colonel DameKelly Holmes and a team of 30 amateur runners on three trail runs across Malawi forThe Orbis Challenge - Sport With a Purpose. The goal: to raise awareness for youth sport and infant malnutrition. 

We’ve caught up with Polly Haywood, a personal trainer and fitness instructor, who will soon be joining Kelly out in Malawi. We wanted to know about her preparation and thoughts for the upcoming challenge.

Check her out on instagram and facebook!

Tribe: How have you been training for the Orbis Challenge? 

Polly: Throughout the challenge we will be undertaking three trail runs. A 25k mountain run, a 20km forest run and another 20km run around Lake Malawi. With this in mind I've been following a pretty intense training schedule. 









Strength training

Interval speed training 

10k run

Incline running / fartlek

Rest day 

5k parkrun 

Long trail run


Most exciting is the 25km run up Mount Mulanje, it’s 5 hours of running and scrambling along steep, rocky terrain. It’s all worth it when you get to the top though, the view is just out of this world. 

Tribe: Why take part in this challenge?

Polly: I was part of the original team of 20 last year and I've been lucky enough to get the opportunity to go back. I lived in Uganda for 3 years, over a decade ago now. It was a life changing adventure and I hadn’t been back on the continent until last year!

I had never been to Malawi before and was drawn by the incredible idea of raising much needed funds for important organisations - last year for ‘Street Chef’ a nutrition project, and this year for ‘Open Arms Malawi’ providing support for orphaned and vulnerable children in Malawi.

I have two children of my own, so this charity is close to my heart. I met Dame Kelly Holmes last year,  she is the most remarkable lady, obviously insanely talented, but also full of warmth and compassion. It is a real honour to go back and undertake this challenge alongside Kelly again.

Last year each team member pledged to sponsor a child through secondary school. I cannot wait to meet Failza, the girl we sponsored at the Rainbow Hope Secondary School. This will be such an emotional moment for me.

Tribe: How does sport help achieve this year's goal: raising awareness for infant malnutrition?

Polly: Sport has the power to bring people together and through that remarkable things can be done. I am not an ultra-runner so this is out of my comfort zone really. The three challenges last year were running, cycling and kayaking, and this year all three are trail running...eek! I am hoping the power of teamwork will get me through it! That and the support of the amazing people who have sponsored us all to raise money for Open Arms Malawi.Due to the lack of nutrition, almost 50% of children under five in Malawi have stunted growth. Without the work of organisations like Open Arms Malawi the statistics would be worse.” The strapline ‘Sport with a Purpose’ couldn’t be more apt.

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