Sport relief challenge heading for Portpatrick

Lindsay takes a breather!'Photo credit - Jim Ryder
Lindsay takes a breather!'Photo credit - Jim Ryder

The strange sight of an inflatable wheel off the Portpatrick shoreline at the weekend was Blue Peter presenter Lindsay Russell training for a unique Sport Relief challenge.

Lindsay will become ‘The Wave Runner’ when attempting one of the programme’s most daring challenges by running, or ‘zorbing’ in a three-metre inflatable ball across 20 miles of Irish sea from Donaghdee to Portpatrick for Sport Relief 2016.

Relying on her own physical strength and at the mercy of the British weather, the 25-year old presenter – who has already run the London Marathon and completed the Swiss Army’s Mountain Marathon – will attempt to cross the Irish Channel.

Battling all the sea can throw at her, she’ll run the waves, take on the loneliness of night and face a mental battle like nothing she has experienced before. She will need all her courage, powers of endurance and a sea’s worth of stamina to complete this epic, world first, Blue Peter challenge. The task requires exceptional fitness, so Lindsey has been working hard to make sure she is at the top of her physical game, working closely with trainer, Professor Greg Whyte.

Lindsey will head to Northern Ireland for final preparations on 25 February. The challenge has never been done before but experts predict her incredible feat could take up to 14 hours – the same amount of time it would take to swim the distance.

Lindsey Russell says: “The most daunting part of this challenge has always been how heavily we are relying on the weather. I’ve been training for months for what will be the biggest and best challenge of my life, but I don’t think anything can prepare me for what the Irish Sea has in store. Something I do know is that I’ll give it everything I’ve got – I am so determined to make it to Scotland and I hope it inspires everyone watching to get up and get involved with Sport Relief this year.”

Professor Greg Whyte says: “I’ve been working closely with Lindsey around her preparation for this incredibly tough solo Sport Relief challenge. The unique adventure that Lindsey is about to embark upon holds a host of physical, psychological, nutritional, tactical and technical challenges. In addition, factors beyond Lindsey’s control, including the weather, will play a crucial part in Lindsey’s success. This is an extraordinary challenge which will require an extraordinary performance from Lindsey to achieve success.”

Lindsey’s ‘The Wave Runner’ challenge hopes to inspire children to do their own fundraising for Sport Relief by signing up to the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games, which will raise money to help people living unimaginably tough lives. Half of the money raised will be used to make a difference right here in the UK, and the other half used to transform lives across the world’s poorest communities.

Viewers can follow Lindsey’s progress from 26 February every Thursday on Blue Peter on the CBBC channel, with ‘The Wave Runner’ challenge airing on 17 March.

Sport Relief is back from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 March.