Meet the Team: Team Syren Part 2

It’s time to meet the rest of Team Syren, as they get ready to embark on Everest in the Alps 2024.  This truly global squad will assemble in Verbier, travelling from places including Serbia, Colorado, Andorra and Brasil. Here, we catch up with Adam, Kosta and Mike, to see how they’re preparing for the big event.

Who are you?

AC: Adam Cruickshank, British 2nd gen expat.

KJ: My name is Kosta Jovanovic, I am a 43-year-old energy industry professional. My wife and I are happy parents of three kids. I have been roaming the world for the last 25 years, living in several countries during the period.

MM: Mike Matson. As a record-setting adventurer and dedicated professional engineer, my journey weaves through both uncharted waters and the forefront of climate change solutions. Armed with a doctorate in Chemistry and a penchant for sharing knowledge through my educational writings, I’ve found my calling in the realms of academia and industry, guiding businesses towards a sustainable future. My life, however, is not just defined by professional achievements. It’s enriched by moments with my wife, Smantha, our children, Morgan and Cooper, and our beloved rescue labrador, Rocky. Whether it’s pushing my limits in Crossfit or relishing the tranquillity of nature, my story is testament to the harmony of ambition, family and wellbeing.


What’s your inspiration for taking on such an epic challenge?

AC: Martin and his son Alex were my inspiration, as a former researcher in leukaemia I know how tricky obtaining funding can be and how frustrating the path to discovery is. This challenge and the attention we are eliciting are great way to give to the cause.

KJ: Foremost, I want to contribute towards brain cancer research. Being close to the cause through Alex, Katie and Martin, it has made me realise what a literal life saving opportunity this is!

MM: My inspiration for tackling EIA stems from a deeply personal and profound source. It’s my friend and colleague, Martin, and his son, Alex, who battles paediatric brain cancer. This endeavour is more than just a test of physical endurance; it’s a quest to raise awareness and vital funds for ground breaking research into brain tumours, particularly DLGNT – a rare and devastating form of cancer that Alex courageously confronts. The journey Martin and the team are undertaking is emblematic of the resilience and strength embodied by Alex and families like ours who are united in the fight against this formidable adversary. As Alex, a talented singer-songwriter, shares his story through his music, we’re reminded of the impact and importance of our collective efforts in giving hope to those affected by this challenging diagnosis.


What draws you to Everest in the Alps?

AC: I love skiing, I love mountains and I love a good challenge!

KJ: It is a unique challenge, one that is physically demanding, yet accessible. It was recommended through Katie and Martin who are spearheading the effort.

MM: The EIA challenge captivates me with its extraordinary mix of mental and physical tests in the stunning Swiss Alps. Ascending the height of Everest on skis demands not just exceptional physical endurance, but also mental grit. The beauty of the Alps and the strong bonds formed with a diverse team make this journey uniquely inspiring. This challenge is more than just an endurance test; it’s an opportunity for personal growth and transformation in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.

Have you ever done anything like this before?

AC: I attempted a 5-day unsupported, unassisted backcountry ski tour of Andorra, which was frustrated by avalanche risk.

KJ: I have never done extensive touring on skis – I usually go downhill! I have participated in a multitude of other endurance events, but never one so intense and so long.

MM: I’ve taken on extraordinary ocean rowing expeditions across the Atlantic, Pacific, and the southern oceans, earning two Guinness World Records for rowing across the Atlantic. These ventures tested my limits in the harshest of environments instilling in me a resilience and endurance that I carry into every new challenge. Additionally, since moving to Colorado with my family in 2020, I’ve embraced the rugged beauty of the Rockies, successfully hiking 10 unique 14-ers – mountains with summits over 14,000 feet. These experiences have honed my ability to conquer both the tumultuous seas and majestic mountains preparing me for the mental and physical demands of the Everest in the Alps challenge.


How are you tackling the training?

AC: Best I can, time permitting. I see any cardio as positive, I try to include interval training and should start with some strength soon. Hiking, cycling, CrossFit and swimming. I will soon be ski touring, also!

KJ: As I don’t have many mountains around me, I do a lot of cycling, running and swimming to get my aerobic and endurance condition up to the task.

MM: Following a rehab for injuries for my Antarctic row, I’m steadily rebuilding my strength. My training mixes tailored powerlifting for shoulder recovery with rigorous cardio, notably extended sessions on the Stairmaster. Regular morning hikes up Mount Sanitas in Boulder also form a crucial part of my regimen. As January approaches, I’m eagerly anticipating Colorado’s mountains opening for uphill skiing, to kick my training into full gear, perfectly aligning with the demands of the challenge.

What are you most looking forward to?

AC: Pushing and supporting each other to complete the challenge. Swiss fondues.

KJ: Being there in the wonderful setting with the Syren team, getting after it.

MM: What excites me most about the challenge is the camaraderie and bonding that comes with undertaking such a significant endeavour for an incredible cause. Sharing this experience with like-minded individuals, all united by a common goal, promises to be both inspiring and deeply fulfilling.

Does anything scare you about the event?

AC: Exertion induced pain and injury that can make an appearance during the challenge would surely be very hard to deal with. Preparation is key.

KJ: Running out of steam!

MM: My biggest fear about Everest in the Alps is the possibility of slowing down my team. While my ability to deadlift over 500lbs is advantageous in many scenarios, carrying that weight up a mountain consistently over four days presents a unique challenge. The fitness and dedication of my teammates are truly inspiring, and I’m deeply motivated not to let them down. This concern drives me to train harder and smarter ensuring I can contribute effectively to our collective effort.

Team Syren are raising money for the Brain Tumour Charity in the UK, the Paediatric Brain Tumour Foundation (PBTF or Cure the Kids) in the United States, and Kindred Foundation in Canada.

You can support them below:

Phillipa Smith