RUN, RIDE, SLEEP, REPEAT
London to Edinburgh to London on foot and by bike. The catch? You’ve got 50 hours to do it. Contenders, start your Fitbits…
Twelve members of the public, twelve walks of life, but one thing unites them. A single word: apprehension. ‘That’s the best way to describe it,’ says Nicola Noble over her 4am coffee. At 29, Nicola’s a seasoned duathlete, but along with her fellow athletes is struggling to remember why she’s about to run 54km, pedal 1,309km and ascend 10,568m in a bid to get from Buckingham Palace to Edinburgh Castle and back in 50 hours.
To put that into perspective, it’s the equivalent of running one and a quarter marathons, climbing the Eiffel Tower and cycling 12 times around the Isle of Wight while riding up Everest with Ben Nevis for dessert. To put that into words? That’s the Fitbit Fifty, and today is the first time this challenge will be attempted.
Stage 1, from Buckingham Palace to the Olympic Park, starts at 6am to a cacophony of beeps from the athlete’s Fitbit Surge fitness trackers, which are literally on hand to count up the kilometres and down the hours. Split into two teams of six – Challenge and Adventure – the athletes will complete the five running stages together but tackle the bike stages in pairs – no mean feat given the complexities of cycling in a group. Professional teams take years to bond personally and tactically; these amateurs have met only a handful of times before today. Undoubtedly this will play a huge part.
Each team has a bus on which to change, eat and sleep, but otherwise little stands between them and the road.
Adam Gamble takes the lead across the Northumberland National Park
Below: The team nears the Scottish border
Headtorches illuminate the way along the old Trans Pennine Railway tracks