Davina McCall faces further weather havoc as she continues on day six of The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Davina – Beyond Breaking Point, a seven day ordeal which sees her attempt to run, swim and cycle from Edinburgh to London.
The challenge is sponsored by BT – a long-term supporter of Comic Relief challenges since 2009 – who are declaring today ‘Dial for Davina’ day, where BT will kindly donate 1p to Sport Relief for every call made from a BT home phone line, BT business line as well as every call made from a BT payphone.
Finding herself combating the weather that’s been taking the UK by storm – literally – for the past five days, Davina last night battled fearsome gales and flooding so severe that the team was forced to take an eight mile diversion. Her mammoth journey took almost 12 hours to complete. Day six sees an even bigger challenge. Standing between Davina’s starting point in the heart of Birmingham and tonight’s destination of Windsor are some of the worst floods seen in years, and with weather conditions not set to improve, she’s going to have to pull out everything she’s got to make it to the finish line.
Speaking before setting off on today’s journey, Davina said: "It was misery yesterday; it was like cycling through treacle. There was no respite. I was just going a little bit mad – I was talking to myself, I was trying to chivvy myself along. At one stop along the way I arrived and got really angry. Everyone was asking me what was wrong, and I kept shouting “I’m just really angry with the wind!” It’s incredibly frustrating.
“Today’s going to be an interesting one because we’re not quite sure how it’s going to pan out. We’re trying to get to Windsor, and – as the news is covering and as I’ve been watching in horror – the country is under deluge from tons and tons of water. Our route was down by the Thames, but now we’re going to get on the bike, do the first 30 miles, then do the next 30 miles, and take each section as it comes. We’re trying to get to Windsor. We’re going to get to Windsor. I can’t even think about tomorrow until I get through today…”
Davina got a little help from her friends this morning, with The Great British Bake Off co- host Mel Giedroyc providing some early morning snacks and support, and waving the 46-year-old challenger off from The Bullring in the heart of Birmingham accompanied by a crowd of cheering supporters. Since starting her BT Sport Relief challenge on Saturday at Edinburgh Castle, Davina has tackled a 130-mile cycle on day one – equivalent to some of the longest stages on the Tour de France, swam the brutally cold Lake Windermere, scaled the colossal Scafell Pike on foot in freezing snow, and will finish on Friday, after seven tortuous days, by running a full marathon into London.
Davina’s challenge is all about girl power. She’ll be joined by famous female friends along the route and will be spurred along by her ultimate goal of helping projects that work to help women. In many developing countries, simply being born female can mean a lifetime of added dangers and challenges, and money raised from the challenge will be spent to help change the lives of thousands of women and girls in Kenya as well as transform lives in the UK and around the world.