Three Local Fitness Instructors Are Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for Charity

The Kick It Crew is taking on Kili.

Eliza Shirazi

Eliza Shirazi/Photo by Lindsay Hite Photography

Fitness instructor Eliza Shirazi will soon trade high kicks for high altitude.

Shirazi, creator of the ultra-popular, kickboxing-inspired class Kick It by Eliza, is climbing Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro, alongside fellow Kick It instructors Emily McLaughlin and Emily Crocker, a few friends, and a team of guides.

The adventure benefits Flying Kites, a Boston-based nonprofit that runs a boarding school for underprivileged children in Kenya, but Shirazi says it’s also a personal challenge and a means of spreading female empowerment.

“As Kick It, we raise so much money for different charities,” Shirazi says. “It just felt like the right time to put my money where my mouth is and do something.”

So far, the group has raised almost $17,000 for Flying Kites, which is run by Shirazi’s friend Leila de Bruyne. Shirazi is hosting one last charity Kick It class on June 1, and collecting individual donations (here) through July.

The crew will begin its trip at the Flying Kites school, working with the children, spreading Kick It’s message of female empowerment, and even teaching a class or two. From there, they’ll continue on to Kilimanjaro, to begin their week-long trek up and down the 19,341-foot mountain.

It’s the length of the climb—which is slow by necessity, due to altitude adjustments—that McLaughlin, a regular recreational climber, expects will be most difficult.

“Kilimanjaro is going to be a real mental challenge for me, because we’re going to be climbing at a slug’s pace,” she says. “It’s going to be a different game for sure, and I think more mental than physical.”

But, says Shirazi, it’s the challenge that makes the trip worth it.

“This, more than anything, is a personal thing. These past few years, I’ve been so dedicated to Kick It that I wanted to do something that took me completely out of it,” she says. “When it does get difficult—because it will—or I feel like I can’t do it anymore, I’ll just be thinking of all these people who have climbed it and have all these amazing memories.”

To donate to the Kick It Crew’s climb, click here.