INTO THE UNKNOWN: Killarney Girl Guide members, Sarah Kenny and Sarah Canavan, are all set to take part in the ‘Explorer Belt Challenge’ in a top secret foreign country. 

Two Killarney women are all set to take part in Irish Girl Guides’ toughest challenge – by surviving on just €3.25 a day while hiking 180km over 10 days.

Sarah Kenny (23)from Firies,and Sarah Canavan (22) from Knockasartnett, will take part in the ‘Explorer Belt Challenge’ in a yet unknown foreign country, where they will have to carry all their camping and cooking equipment, clothes, food and water.

The two Sarahs, who are both Leaders of Sika Senior Branch, Killarney, the senior branch of Irish Girl Guides for 14-30 year olds, will also have to complete a number of projects during the challenge. These will involve completing a service for the local community and finding out about local history and culture without using a smartphone!

While the duo have trained over the past few months by hiking and regular gym workouts, it has been impossible for them to prepare for the projects as they will not know where in Europe they are going until they arrive with their rucksacks at Dublin Airport on Sunday.

Most of their training has taken place separately as they are currently living in different parts of the country. Sarah Canavan lives in Galway where she is studying Commerce in NUI Galway and Sarah Kenny is in Dublin where she is a dietitian in St James’s Hospital.

While both are looking forward to the challenge, some nerves are beginning to set in. The fact that they will be taking it on together gives them some encouragement.

“We are well used to working together as we have been in Guides together since we were 13, and we have completed most of our Guiding challenges together,” Sarah Kenny said.

Both girls successfully completed the Irish Girl Guides’ Chief Commissioner’s Award last year when, as a team, they hiked 60 kilometres over five days in Co Waterford and survived on €3.50 a day.

“I feel the mentality side of the challenge will be the hardest,” she said.

“I get extremely grumpy when I’m lacking sleep but the best thing about doing it with Sarah is that she understands that and it’s the same vice versa.”

Sarah Canavan added that another big problem for them will be food. “I’m vegetarian and Sarah is allergic to nuts and gluten, so we’ll be having a lot of eggs,” she said.

The Explorer Belt survival adventure is being organised by two experienced IGG leaders, Katherine Ryan and Jemma Lee, who themselves successfully completed the Explorer Belt Challenge in Germany four years ago.