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-- The Rockport Company's "Ultimate Wear Test" Called a Huge Success by Team Leader; Hikers Footwear Hold Up Well Under Adverse Conditions --
 MARLBORO, Mass., April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- A school teacher from Virginia, a marine biologist from California, the team physician for the Boston Celtics and three Rockport employees are back in the U.S. today after completing a 100-mile hike to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and back.
 "This was one of the best hikes I've ever participated in," said Rob Taylor of Sudbury, Mass., a professional climber who led the expedition. "We had an extraordinary gathering of people who braved extremely challenging weather conditions that might have stopped a less team- oriented group."
 Participating in a program to mark The Rockport Company's decade- long effort to promote walking as a key to health and fitness, the group reached the 19,340-foot summit at 8:35 a.m. local time Wednesday, April 21.
 The group, accompanied by local guides and Chaga tribesmen porters, began the climb Thursday, April 15, in 85-degree temperatures at the base of Kilimanjaro. The group faced torrential rains and mud during the first part of the climb through tropical jungle areas, then heavy snow as the altitude increased.
 "The weather was quite challenging all the way up the mountain," Taylor said. "But the group worked together as a team, keeping everyone's spirits high. And when we reached the summit, the weather was glorious. There was sun, no wind and a temperature of about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. You could see all the way to Mount Kenya 250 miles away."
 According to Taylor, Dr. Arnold Scheller, the Celtics team physician, sprained his ankle prior to beginning the climb. "But he fashioned a cravat splint and continued on to the summit," Taylor said, "where others might have given up."
 "I've worked with many team events and this group was one of the best," Scheller said. "There was great chemistry. Everybody had a positive influence on everybody else."
 In addition to Taylor and Scheller, the group included Ed Heffernan, a school teacher from Springfield, Va.; Tina Stiff, a shark feeder from Vallejo, Calif.; and Rockport employees John Eberle of Newton, Mass., Liz Scanlon of Worcester, Mass., and Becky Snow of Foxboro, Mass.
 Heffernan, a third-grade school teacher, said he is looking forward to telling his students about the trip.
 "This was the trip of a lifetime," he said. "I've prepared my kids with the geography and history and culture of the Kilimanjaro area and I know they're looking forward to hearing about the climb. I kept a daily diary, which I'll type up and make copies of for each student."
 "The climb was totally unbelievable," said Tina Stiff, a shark feeder at Marine World Africa, U.S.A. in Vallejo, Calif. "It was so much more than I expected in terms of beauty and the spirit of the group."
 Scheller, Heffernan and Stiff all agreed that the Rockport footwear -- the Discovery (TM) and XCS (TM) series walking/hiking boots -- held up extremely well in the often-adverse conditions.
 "I had one pair I wore all the time," Heffernan said. "They kept my feet dry despite all the rain and mud we went through. The outsides of the shoes would dry out at night by the fire and were always fine the next day."
 "Kilimanjaro turned out to be even more of a test of people and footwear than we imagined," said John Thorbeck, president of Rockport, "and I congratulate all of the climbers for their perseverance and commitment. With the wet weather and heavy snow cover, every person and every piece of equipment on this climb was subjected to extraordinary challenges. That people and the footwear held up so well is evidenced of the quality of both."
 Kilimanjaro is the largest volcano in the world, covering 950 square miles in the northeast corner of Tanzania, an area larger than Cape Code Bay.
 Heffernan and Stiff were chosen to make the climb from a nationwide pool of Rockport customers. Selection criteria included a demonstrable level of physical fitness indicating their ability to successfully complete the climb.
 Rockport is a wholly owned subsidiary of Reebok International Ltd., Stoughton, Mass. Rockport manufactures, markets and distributes lightweight performance comfort footwear and apparel for the outdoors. The company designs men's and women's footwear that covers the range from fitness to casual and dress, as well as men's rugged outdoor wear.
 -0- 4/26/93
 /CONTACT: Lara Wyss, 212-674-7700, or Chris Goddard, 508-485-0552, ext. 369, both for The Rockport Company/

CO: Rockport Company ST: Massachusetts IN: SU:

LD-KW -- NY127 -- 1047 04/26/93 18:42 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 26, 1993

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