From climbing in Yosemite with Alex Honnold, to skiing with freestyle legend Candide Thovex in the French Alps, Somerton is a new ultra-sport members’ club that enables fitness-obsessed travellers to book ultra-sport expeditions with elite athletes around the world. Emily Eastman reports
“Gyms are boring, explore the world with Somerton.” That’s the tagline for this new ultra-sport members’ club.
When it launched in October 2019, Somerton became the first club of its kind to connect members with an elite community of athletes, trainers and wellness professionals to deliver unprecedented access to sports and wellness experiences.
With more than 60 curated ultra-sport experiences available, members can, for example, go skiing with French free-styler Candide Thovex in the French Alps, climbing in Yosemite free solo legend Alex Honnold, sailing with Saskia Clark in the Galapagos and diving with William Winram in Tonga.
Other trips include heli-skiing with Ingrid Backstrom in Greenland, cycling the Shimanami Kaido in Japan (a 76km route that connects the main island of Honshu to the island of Shikoku) with Tiffany Cromwell, and kite-boarding with Youri Zoon in Patagonia.
Becoming a member comes at the cost of an annual fee, which includes 24-hour access to a personal sporting concierge to arrange activities and coaching sessions across more than 60 disciplines with any of the 500 athletes and trainers in the Somerton community.
It’s a way for busy individuals to easily build sports, health, fitness and wellness into even the most demanding schedules, wherever they are in the world.In total, Somerton sports cover 13 categories: alpine, climbing, combat, cycling, equine, fishing, golf, marine, motor, racquets, running, sailing and shooting.
Somerton also offers bespoke programmes to people of all abilities, from novice to expert level. Its sports planning team works with members to achieve their goals, helping them to make the best use of their time and advising on how best to engage in different sports. The team is on hand to design activity schedules and advise on everything from biometrics to kinesiology.
Entrepreneur Martin Armstrong founded Somerton after working in the executive business sector, where he saw first-hand the effects of a high-stress, time-poor lifestyle common in London’s professional circles.
He says: “Faced with increasingly frenetic lifestyles, it is very easy to forget to prioritise health. As well as through sport, Somerton’s collective experts in the fields of complementary medicine create personalised programmes to optimise members’ health and well-being through diagnostic testing, nutrition, vitamin infusion, homeopathy, reflexology and more.”
From climbing Everest to mastering yoga, Somerton can manage the logistics of any excursion, meaning the headspace of clients is free from thinking about how to transport friends, arranging hotels or sourcing equipment in remote locations.
A physical assessment is carried out prior to any expedition, and a personal nutrition plan is tailored for each member to ensure they perform to the best of their ability.
Somerton promises clients the best-possible experience in their chosen sport or activity. To deliver on this, it works closely with British Olympians, both current and retired, to engage and educate members through an on-going programme of member events, training sessions and private mentoring. A development strategy is designed to seamlessly integrate members’ personal goals into their schedule.
There is a philanthropic element to Somerton, too. It supports numerous environmental charities that are working against climate change and 10 per cent of all member fees goes back to the local communities people visit.