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Gregathlon: BBC Radio 1's Greg James completes first Sport Relief triathlon in Belfast

Thousands of pounds have been raised today

By Claire Williamson

BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James has completed the first day of his gruelling Sport Relief challenge of five triathlons in five days in five cities - starting in Belfast.

The 30-year-old broadcaster arrived in Belfast last night ahead of his mammoth task this morning which he kicked off at Belfast Harbour Marina.

<< Scroll down for details on how to sponsor Greg >>

The event has been affectionately dubbed the 'Gregathlon' which will see Greg swim through freezing open waters before running and cycling through city streets.

At 50 miles, each stage of the Gregathlon is a punishing 18 miles longer than the standard Olympic triathlon distance of 32 miles.

Today Greg completed his first triathlon which began this morning with an icy dip in the Belfast Harbour in his first open water swim.

As he set off this morning he said: “I feel like jelly, I feel really sick but I'm so excited. To quote The Weeknd, I can't feel my face, it's so cold. This challenge is going to be difficult but I've trained really hard for this and I can't wait to get going. Seeing everyone's posts on social media has been really encouraging, so thank you.

"I'm going to do the best I can, make it entertaining along the way and hopefully raise lots of cash for Sport Relief".

After he dried off from paddling 800 metres in the freezing Belfast Harbour Marina he was quickly in the saddle as he embarked on the cycle.

But when he was just seven miles into the cycle he got a puncture prompting him to tweet: "Gonna be a lonnnnng day".

greg route.jpg
Gregathlon route. Pic: Sport Relief

But he was soon underway again and by 12.25pm when he had his first pit stop he had completed 26 miles.

By 2pm he had finished the cycle and was gearing up to embark upon the 10 mile run.

The radio DJ tweeted to say that he was "hurting already" and that messages of support were spurring him on.

He said: "Swim and cycle done. Now a 10 mile run to do the radio show. Hurting already. Your messages and donations really spur me on."

Sport Relief have revealed that more than £11k has been raised today.

Greg's run took him past Belfast’s iconic sites which include the old historic shipyard where the Titanic was built and launched, Stormont Castle and Belfast City Hall.

He arrived at the BBC Radio Ulster studio just after 4pm to cheers.

And if all that wasn't enough - he will then do his daily three-hour afternoon radio show from the city he is in - which include Cardiff, Glasgow, Sheffield and Norwich.

A good-luck message from Coldplay’s Chris Martin saw him set off in high spirits this morning and he was joined this afternoon by The Saturdays’ Mollie King who cheered him on as he crossed the finish line before hosting his Radio 1 show at 4pm.

But first he had a massage as the the challenge means Greg faces rising fatigue and extensive muscle damage as he repeats his gruelling schedule day after day.

Greg hopes to inspire the nation to follow in his footsteps and to sign up to walk, run swim or cycle like on the Sport Relief Weekend from Friday 18 to Sunday 20 March.

Today he presents his show from Radio Ulster - where he will be reunited with one of his "absolute heros" - Uncle Hugo.

Speaking previously to the Belfast Telegraph he said: "That's definitely the bit that's unknown for me.

"I'm only thinking about the activities that I'm doing, but when it gets to three o'clock I'll be thinking, 'Oh my God I've gotta do the radio in a minute.'

"But I think it will be entertaining for the listeners at the very least. I imagine we'll be doing the show from BBC Radio Ulster which I've been to many times before and I'm looking forward to meeting some of my old favourites - Uncle Hugo being one of my absolute heroes.

"He's a wonderful man is Uncle Hugo. We used to do some stuff with him on the show, we used to feature him quite a lot when I first started and I eventually met him when I came to Belfast so I was very excited."

The night before the madness...Belfast

Posted by Greg James on Sunday, 7 February 2016

In preparation for his Sport Relief campaign, Greg says a visit to a refugee camp in Jordan gave him the determination to train.

Click here for more information on how to sponsor Greg.

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