The toughest challenge of Davina’s life saw her run, swim and cycle over 500 miles from Edinburgh to London - entirely under her own steam.
Starting in Edinburgh on Saturday 8th February and finishing in London on Friday 14th February, Davina battled saddle sores as she spent over 47 hours peddling; conquered a life-long fear of open water swimming and burned over 10,000 calories per day as she expended every last ounce of energy to reach London.
How you can help
Davina still needs your support following her Beyond Breaking Point challenge. You can sponsor Davina at sportrelief.com/Davina
You can also ‘Go the extra mile’ like Davina, by taking on your own Sport Relief challenge. Enter a running, swimming or cycling event now at one of over 1,000 locations across the UK at sportrelief.com
Davina's challenge - day by day
Davina on training for her 130-mile cycle ride.
Davina on training for her marathon.
Day 1 - ...and she's off!
Davina faced torrential rain and gale force winds of up to 70mph this morning as she kicked off Day One of her BT Sport Relief Challenge: Davina – Beyond Breaking Point.
Leaving Edinburgh Castle at 7:45am this morning (Saturday 8th February), she kissed husband Matthew goodbye and waved to gathered crowds including her proud parents before starting today’s gruelling 14 hour, 130-mile cycle to Keswick. With heavy rain and strong winds forecast to continue all day, she’s not in for an easy ride, with saddle sores and extreme fatigue adding to her misery – and this is only day one.
Speaking at her first pit stop in Biggar, South Lanarkshire, Davina said: “Oh dear, I think I‘ve bitten off more than I can chew - I want to stop now and I’ve only done 30 miles! I just hadn’t mentally prepared for the wind – I’m cycling against it so I’m even having to pedal when I’m going downhill! There’s still a long day ahead of me and then have to start it all again tomorrow.”
Day 3 - Drama at Windermere
Davina McCall has taken on the life-threateningly cold Lake Windermere as she continues on day three of The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Davina – Beyond Breaking Point, a seven-day ordeal which will see the her attempt to run, swim and cycle over 500 miles from Edinburgh to London - entirely under her own steam. The challenge is sponsored by BT, a long-term supporter of Comic Relief challenges since 2009.
Plunging into the open water live on BBC Breakfast on Monday morning, Davina looked visibly shaken as she set off on her gruelling 1.5 mile-long swim across the 183-ft deep water, conquering the lake she’s called “her nemesis”. Accompanied by Sport Relief challenge trainer Professor Greg Whyte OBE, Davina tackled her life-long fear of open-water swimming head on, battling temperatures of just five degrees and spending over an hour in the brutally cold water.
As Davina warmed up after her punishing swim, she said: “The moment I got in the water my chest felt crushed - I couldn’t do front crawl, I couldn’t put my head under water, I couldn’t breathe. One thing Greg told me that was pulling me through was to think of the building ahead of us as a magnet, drawing us towards it. When I was near the end and really struggling, I got so desperate I looked up to God – if there was anyone up there I needed their help!
"I kept trying to lift my arm to swim, trying to pull the crawl out of the bag, but I couldn’t even get it up. I ended up doing doggy paddle! I imagined my sister holding me and pulling me through it. It was such a struggle, but I have such a great team around me, I couldn’t have done it without them. Although I’m shattered I never felt unsafe, I’m in the best possible hands.”
Professor Greg Whyte OBE said: “I was in the water throughout the whole swim to ensure Davina’s safety. It was very tough and very cold, but I can reassure people that she was safe throughout and never in any real danger. I’m full of admiration for her determination to finish this swim and get back on her bike.”
After being looked over by medics and refuelling with a hot chocolate, Davina dug deep and got back on her bike to finish today’s route – cycling 65 miles from Windermere to Accrington. 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, scaled the colossal Scafell Pike on foot in freezing snow, and will finish after seven tortuous days by running a full marathon into London.
Davina tweeted: “I’m ok. That was hairy. Thank you for all your support. I’m about to get on a bike. @sportrelief, thank you again.”
Davina sent a message to supporters worried about her ordeal. Surrounded by cheering wellwishers, Davina told the crowd: “I’m completely fine, I was just cold! I’ve warmed up now, I’ve had a nice bath and I’m ready to get on the bike.”
She continued her journey with a 65-mile cycle to Monday’s finish point, Accrington.
Day 4 - Battling the elements
Davina McCall faced freezing temperatures and snow showers as she continued on day four of The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Davina – Beyond Breaking Point.
After conquering her life-long fear of open-water swimming by taking on Lake Windermere on Monday, there was no easy ride for Davina as she kicked off day four in the pitch black and pouring rain on a gruelling 45-mile cycle. Stopping off at a primary school en-route to get support in the snow from the locals, Davina pushed through the pain barrier facing freezing headwinds of -6C and brutal uphill climbs as she continued on her way.
And that’s not all. After taking a quick break for physio, Davina’s got a seven-mile trail run across the fells ahead of her before she reaches Tuesday’s final destination of Edale.
As Davina refuelled from her morning’s journey, she said: “I’m suffering a bit today. The challenge is much bigger than I thought it would be, and we’ve had a very early and awful start this morning. Today is cycling and fell running, but my knees are shot so cycling is proving to be quite difficult, and fell running may become fell crawling if I can’t do it.
“I spent a lot of energy yesterday - I haven’t even cycled that far this morning and I am absolutely spent already. Today is going to be much, much tougher than I thought.”
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 life-threateningly cold Lake Windermere, scaled the colossal Scafell Pike on foot in freezing snow, and will finish after seven tortuous days by running a full marathon into London.
Celebrities including Nick Grimshaw, Alex Jones and Little Mix have tweeted their support for the 46-year-old, with Little Mix tweeting: “SOO impressed with everything @ThisisDavina is doing for @sportrelief. She's INCREDIBLE! Keep showing your support! #DAVINA xx Little Mix xx”
BT is today giving £40,000 to support Davina as part of the £350,000 it has committed to raise in support of The BT Sport Relief Challenges: Davina – Beyond Breaking Point.
Day 5 - freezing conditions
Davina set off on her 90 mile journey in temperatures of just 3 degrees this morning, cheered on her way by local children from Edale Church of England Primary School and crowds of well-wishers showing their support for the 46-year-old challenger. And boy does she need it today! After four relentless days of punishing physical strain - battling freezing winds so strong she has to pedal downhill, knee-deep snow across Scafell Pike, not to mention the brutally cold Lake Windermere – Davina’s challenge is really starting to take its toll. And there’s one place in particular that’s causing her all sorts of bother as she takes to the saddle…
Speaking before she set off this morning, Davina said: “I’m in miserable pain now because we’ve got to day five, and things are hurting a lot. My legs are really sore, my knees are killing, but my undercarriage is desperate! I feel like I’m going to walk like John Wayne for a week. I had a lovely message yesterday from a lady telling me she knows just how I feel, like you just want to sit in a puddle – and that’s what I want to do. I’m trying to find ways of helping, but nothing really works because the damage was done on the first day and I can’t give myself time to repair it – it’s just ongoing. It’s hilly, horrible weather again today too, really windy and probably going to rain.
“When they first said the challenge was called Beyond Breaking Point I thought it was a bit overdramatic, but now I’m doing it I know it’s not!”
Day 6 - hitting the road
Today is ‘Dial for Davina’ day, where BT will 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. Mel Giedroyc (below) joined Davina in Birmingham today to help raise awareness for the campaign.
Davina today faces further weather havoc as she continues on day six of The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Davina – Beyond Breaking Point.
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.
Meet Professor Greg Whyte
Accompanying Davina on every step of her BT Sport Relief challenge is Professor Greg Whyte OBE - Olympian, ‘physical activity guru’ and world-renowned sports scientist. Find out more about Greg's work with Sport Relief >
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 tomorrow (Friday 14th February), after seven tortuous days, by running a full marathon into London.
She's done it!
Davina McCall today (Friday 14th February) faces the final stretch as she continues on day seven of The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Davina – Beyond Breaking Point.
Today Davina’s sliding off the saddle and into her stride as she attempts to run a full marathon into London to complete her epic challenge this afternoon. With six exhausting days behind her that saw her battered by freezing winds, rain and snow, not to mention the punishing Lake Windermere, Davina’s going to have to use every last ounce of energy to get to the finish line later today.
Davina made her way through areas deluged by some of the worst flooding seen in years on yesterday’s journey from Birmingham to Windsor and Comic Relief can today announce that some of the money raised through Sport Relief will be made available through existing partners to help some of the poorest and most vulnerable people without the means to repair their homes and replace essential items to get back on their feet.
Speaking two miles into her final journey, Davina said: “We’ve been in the middle of all these floods – cycling through flooded areas, we had to take a detour yesterday because of the floods, so Sport Relief is making some money available in flood affected areas for families experiencing hardship, because it just sort of felt right that we should.”
“I’m really tired, my legs are really tired. I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do it but I’m going home! Matthew’s got my wedding ring and I’m not putting it on until I cross the finish line so for me today that’s a massive incentive.”
See the moment Davina passed through BT Centre in central London on her way to the finish line at Tate Modern.
Watch Davina’s challenge:
Thursday 20th March on BBC One - 9pm