Belfast Telegraph

Home nations in Sport Relief battle

Celebrities and sport stars from four nations are to go head-to-head in a gruelling week-long challenge for Sport Relief.

The First Nation Home Challenge will see celebrity teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland race across the British Isles to raise funds for this year's appeal.

They will sail, row, cycle and run more than 1,000 miles around the UK and Ireland, with the first team to return to their respective capital city crowned the winners.

The teams are made up of television and sport stars, with property show presenter Phil Spencer, Rugby World Cup winners Josh Lewsey and Phil Vickery, and sailing champion Dame Ellen MacArthur representing Team England.

Team Wales includes television presenter Gethin Jones, rugby legend Gareth Thomas and Olympian Iwan Thomas while Team Scotland features former rugby player Kenny Logan, TV presenter Dougie Vipond and weather presenter Cat Cubie.

Team Ireland includes former middle-distance runner Sonia O'Sullivan and television stars Craig Doyle, Diarmuid Gavin and Amanda Byram.

Team England captain Josh Lewsey said: "It's been very competitive between the teams and we're confident that we can bring the trophy back to London. Most importantly it's a great way for the public to get involved and help us raise money for a fantastic cause."

Welsh team captain Gethin Jones said: "Everyone representing Team Wales has been training extensively over the past few months in preparation for what's sure to be a tough week. We're all looking forward to getting started."

The teams begin the challenge from their capital cities, before making their return on Saturday March 17. The public can then join the celebrities for a six-mile run in Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh or London on Sunday March 25.

Money raised will go to Sport Relief, which aims to transform the lives of poor and vulnerable people in the UK and across the world's poorest countries.

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