Britain’s most-decorated long-distance triathlete Chrissie Wellington will tackle the Three Peaks Challenge this weekend with an added twist – she will cycle between the mountains and then run up them.
After leaving triathlon in 2012 to start a new phase in her life, the University of Manchester graduate is now taking on the test as part of a four-person team of seasoned endurance athletes to raise money for charity.
Starting today at the foot of Snowdon they aim to cover the 29 miles of climbing and 421 miles of cycling all within a 48 hour period.
While the four-time Ironman triathlon world champion is used to pushing herself to the limit she admits that this is going beyond anything that she has experienced before.
“It’s going to take me totally out of my comfort zone. The unknown is scary, frightening and bears little resemblance to what I’ve done before,” she told ESPNW.
“Sure I have a history of cycling, running and doing a bit of what sometimes resembles swimming, but I try to get that over and done with in under nine hours.
“Those who know me realize that I am a passionate devotee of the eight-hour slumber. What will I do if I don’t manage to get a decent bit of shut-eye?”
After tackling the highest peak in Wales the group will ride 168 miles to Scafell Pike before taking on the longest running route in the event, 11 miles of climbing to take them up to 3,478 feet.
“When we get on the bikes after Scafell, the thought, ‘OK, 250 miles to cycle now,’ will probably not be a useful one,” the 37-year-old said.
“I will be trying to draw on all the tools and strategies I have developed over the years to help me cope with the highs and lows, the pain and discomfort, and to quiet the voice that questions why on earth I agreed to enter such a ludicrously challenging challenge.”
With temperatures predicted to hover around zero on Ben Nevis on Saturday the team are well aware that conditions will be tough.
Matt Edwards, sport development manager at the University of Bristol, who initially suggested the idea, says they cannot rely on Britain’s notoriously changeable weather to play ball.
“We want to be able to complete the challenge even if this means crampons and ice axes rather than trail-running shoes and a pair of shorts,” Edwards said.
“We need to prepare for all four seasons multiple times.
“However in the U.K., at the start of May, with four people, a support vehicle, 29 miles of mountain running and 421 miles of road cycling to navigate, the chances of everything going smoothly and in our favour are almost zero.”
The team are raising money for Jole Rider, an organisation that provides bicycle to children in Africa, and The Rainbow Trust, a charity that supports children with terminally children.
Updates on the challenge can be found on: http://4321challenge.org/