1 million vertical meters: ultra cyclist Jack Thompson first to 'reach space' in one calendar year

The Australian rode 52 Everestings and an additional 2,068m of climbing on his 'off days'

Jack Thompson, ultra cyclist
(Image credit: Roval)

Ultra cyclist Jack Thompson has done it! 

After a year-long quest, the Australian has ridden an astonishing 1,000,000 metres (3,280,839.9 feet) of elevation, which would put one deep into outer space.

To reach this distance, Thompson  completed one Everesting per week for 52 weeks in a row and an additional 2,068m of elevation on his “off days”. A popular challenge during the COVID years, an Everesting is a ride in which one completes the height of Mt. Everest —8,848.9m or 29,032 feet— in a series of hill repeats up the same mountain and without any sleep breaks. 

To keep things interesting, Thompson completed his Everestings in various countries, encouraging people to ride along and develop a community. 

Thompson reached his 1-million-meter mission after 261 active days of riding and 52 cumulative days of rest. 

The accomplishment left him feeling a "rollercoaster of emotions," Thompson states on social media.

"I’ve never been as fit as I am right now, I’ve never been as fatigued as I am right now, I’ve never been as emotionally drained as I am right now and I’ve never been as proud of myself as I am right now."

To put his efforts in the context of professional bike racers, in 2021, WorldTour rider and compatriot Richie Porte climbed more vertical metres than any other professional, logging some 662,000 meters of elevation gain. This year, Thompson climbed 50% more than the Ineos Grenadiers rider.

He did all this with the goal of raising €1,000,000 for three mental health organizations around the world. This organizations are About Kids Helpline, Australia's only free and confidential online and phone counseling service for young people; Outride, Specialized's charity arm that works toward a more equitable, inclusive, and healthy futures for youth through school-based bike programs; and StrongMinds, a social enterprise that treats depression in women and adolescents in low-income communities in Africa. 

“I’ve suffered from depression and mental health disorders my whole life and now being in the fortunate position to ride a bike full time, made it my mission to ride for a larger cause," Thompson states.

"Cycling has helped me and so I want to give back and help those who suffer. The idea of raising €1 for every meter climbed seemed like a good but very ambitious goal and so I set my sights on trying to achieve it.”

Thompson is professional athlete and mental health advocate who has accumulated numerous world records and world firsts in recent years, including things like setting the Guiness World Record for most kilometres ridden in seven days —record of 3,505 kilometres — and riding the entire Tour de France route in just 10 days. If you're looking for some inspiration as you set your 2023 New Year's Resolutions, you can watch most of Thompson's exploits on his YouTube channel.

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Anne-Marije Rook
North American Editor

Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.

Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist.