A TEACHER is continuing to pull on his trainers to tackle everything from ultra-marathons to climbing mountains – and his adventures are now captured in a best-selling book.
Steve Hill MBE, who lives in Moorside and teaches at St Joseph’s RC Primary School in Shaw, says his motto is ‘dream big, aim high and never give up’.
And as he takes on daring and exciting challenges to push himself to his boundaries, his pupils are his biggest inspiration.
Steve took on his first challenge in 2009, which was a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, followed soon after by trips up Mont Blanc and across the Sahara Desert.
He has climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia – the highest mountain in Europe – and also undertaken expeditions in the Arctic and the jungle in Borneo.
His first marathon was completed at the foot of Mount Everest and he has also tackled the Amazon Jungle Ultra Marathon and the 206-mile Great Norse Run, which comprises nine marathons in nine days across Iceland.
His challenges this year include tackling the 125-mile Highland Ultra in Scotland for the first time, including camping in the mountains.
He completed the TCS Virtual London Marathon, running around his training haunts in Saddleworth and Oldham, and even got his pupils involved as they completed 2.6 miles around the school playground.
Steve also ran the Uganda Marathon for the fifth time – a challenge close to his heart as it kick-started his passion for charity work.
He explained: “I went out to Uganda in 2018 to run the marathon and I got involved in some charity work and realised that it was much more than just a marathon.
“That inspired me to set up the Team Hill Charitable Trust and we’ve raised money for years to help children and young people out there and we have more control over where it goes.
“We continued supporting them during lockdown, sending items over like oxygen concentrators. It was great to get back over and see how they are doing.”
Steve and his Trust also fundraise for and support groups and organisations across Oldham, such as local hospitals, foodbanks and the elderly.
And in between his work for the community and tackles challenges, Steve has found time to record all his adventures in a book.
Entitled ‘What’s Next Sir?’, it was launched in June and is endorsed by renowned explorer Sir Randolph Fiennes.
It shares Steve’s adventures from the past few years and the things he has learned along the way about life, self-doubt, overcoming challenges and growth but, above all, following your dreams.
“People kept saying you have amazing stories to tell but I never had the time to write anything,” said Steve. “But then lockdown came and I couldn’t travel to do challenges so I had a bit more time on my hands.
“I didn’t know what to expect and just hoped people would enjoy reading it. The response has been phenomenal.”
People of all ages have been sending Steve pictures of themselves reading the book around the world along with messages of support and thanks.
“People have been doing their own challenges and saying they were inspired by me and that the book has changed their lives, which is amazing to hear,’ said Steve.
“And one of the highlights of my career is looking up during taking the register at school and seeing all my pupils sat reading my book! It was the most amazing feeling.”
The book has been ranked number 1 paperback bestseller at Waterstones (Oldham) and is also on sale at Amazon and WH Smith, with a percentage of each sale going to charity.
And Steve revealed the name of the book was inspired by a young girl he met during his role as a Duke of Edinburgh ambassador.
“I was invited to give a talk and hand out D of E awards at St James’ Palace as a guest presenter,” recalled Steve.
“The feedback after was overwhelming. One girl said it made her realise what she can do and she wanted to read more about my adventures in a book called ‘What next, Sir?’
“Four years down the line when I wrote the book, I decided that’s what I had to call it. My pupils are always asking me that too so it was very fitting.
“The children are a big motivation for me. I want to inspire them and give them the confidence to do things too. I am so grateful I can share everything I do with them.
“The curriculum can be a bit prescriptive, there has got to be more than that to education. So I try to inspire the children inside the classroom and also out of it.”
And despite Steve admitting it has been a ‘whirlwind’ of a year, he has no plans to slow down and already has more challenges in the pipeline, including a possible Coast to Coast trek across Costa Rica next year.