The run was part of the annual Filwood Gets Fit festival which was organised by Knowle West Together – a group of organisations that are working with residents to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the area. In 2015, Bristol artist collective CHAMP turned the Steps challenge into a community-focused Mountain Marathon with interactive artwork ‘The Ascent’.
CHAMP worked out that it would require 246 journeys up the Steps to reach the summit of Mt Everest, and so they embarked on a ‘collective ascent’:
“When everyone works towards the same goal, it shows that if you work together you can achieve much more than you can by yourselves!” – CHAMP
The artists occupied Novers Hill on 8 July 2015, setting up Base Camp in the morning and raising a new Knowle West flag at the top of the Steps, co-designed with the young people from KWMC’s Creative Hub. The Steps were wrapped in colourful bunting and banners with inspirational messages encouraged the runners as they completed their individual ascents.
Stones of various shapes and sizes, kindly donated by Rowland Stone Masonry, lay at Base Camp and were carried one by one to the summit. Each participant added their stone to a cairn upon completing their ascent, which gradually grew as the day went on. Laser-cut CHAMP medals, specially designed for the event, were awarded at the top with orange segments handed out at the half way point.
For those who turned up especially to run, it was a new and exciting challenge. For those who were surprised by the special events on their usual daily route up the Steps it was a chance to celebrate, making the ‘everyday’ special. With over 250 individual ascents, CHAMP and Knowle West climbed even higher than Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world!