Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Family reunion spurring Davina on

Davina McCall is being spurred on by the thought of her kids to complete her Sport Relief challenge

Davina McCall has said the thought of being reunited with her children is spurring her on in her gruelling 500-mile (805km) Sport Relief challenge which saw her dragged out of a bitterly cold lake.

The presenter admitted she was frightened during her 1.5 mile (2.4km) crossing of Windermere yesterday and is finding it a huge struggle to keep going as she settles back into the saddle once again, admitting she is "spent".

The 46-year-old told BBC Breakfast this morning: "I 've got to get to my children by Friday or I'm going to expire, so that's my focus. It's not even like they're trying to make me do it - I've just got to get to the kids."

Davina is travelling under her own steam from Edinburgh to London by cycling, swimming and running.

Yesterday's tough ordeal saw her struggling across the lake in tears and clearly distressed while barely able to breathe as a result of the cold and the exertion.

She had to cling to a kayak for the final stages and, when she eventually reached her target, her limp body was plucked from the water and she had to be carried to a nearby hotel to warm up.

Speaking after a short stint on the bike through Lancashire this morning, she said: "I nterestingly today feels really hard. I think I spent a lot of energy yesterday. I h aven't even cycled that far this morning and I'm actually spent already. Today is going to be much much tougher than I thought."

Recalling the agony of her swim in the 5C (41F) lake, accompanied by her trainer, Professor Greg Whyte, she said: " I was pretty scared. I was just very, very tired and I had nothing.

"We just got so cold and it was just like somebody was sitting on my chest and I couldn't breathe. I had perfected this amazing front crawl across three months - I was really good at it and then I got in the cold water and it felt like someone was sitting on my chest and I just couldn't breathe, so I couldn't put my head in the water to turn it up to breathe.

"And I literally ended up doggy-paddling across Windermere which took a lot longer than we all thought. Greg swam it with me and we were both getting quite cold and I was really suffering at the end."

The Million Pound Drop host is aiming to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds with her BT Sport Relief Challenge: Davina - Beyond Breaking Point.

"I keep saying to myself it wouldn't raise any money if it wasn't a challenge but by God it's a challenge."

Even prior to getting in the water TV viewers saw her sobbing at the prospect of getting into the water as she had difficulties coming to terms with the tough open-water swim.

After completing it she told how thoughts of her half-sister Caroline Baday - who died from cancer in 2012 - had pulled her through.

Davina said: "I imagined my sister holding me and pulling me through it."

She had also hoped for divine intervention to get her through, admitting: "I got so desperate I looked up to God - if there was anyone up there I needed their help."

The presenter's body was limp and her head was lolling as she was pulled from the water after clinging on to her support team's kayak to complete the Windermere crossing.

Organisers of the seven-day challenge assured fans that Davina was in no danger as she made her way across the lake.

She admitted she had also hoped for divine intervention to get her through, saying: "I got so desperate I looked up to God - if there was anyone up there I needed their help."

After warming up from her swim, she had to get on her bike and spend hours in the saddle as she completed a long, slow 65-mile (105km) leg of the journey to finish yesterday's stint.

Today she is cycling from Accrington to Glossop, and then joining the Pennine Way to run a section of the route until she reaches Edale in Derbyshire.

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