Marylebone Health (CHHP)

Davina McCall’s Sport Relief Challenge with Professor Greg Whyte

Davina McCall’s Sport Relief Challenge with Professor Greg Whyte

See what CHHP’s Greg Whyte has been up to for Sport Relief with Davina.

“McCall is all for encouraging busy souls to fit in short bursts of exercise – her Fit In 15 DVD is currently flying off the shelves. But, spurred on by ‘saint’ trainer Prof Gregg Whyte OBE, who coaches all the Sports Relief challengers for free, she has been doing hard-core endurance training since November.”

We all know Davina McCall is super fit – you don’t keep glockenspiel abs like that by lounging on a beanbag eating pick’n’mix every day. But on February 7, she will take on an epic challenge – covering
500 miles from Edinburgh to London in seven days by biking, swimming and running for the BT Sport Relief Challenge.

Sport Relief has inspired some exceptional endeavours since it began in 2002 – Eddie Izzard’s 43 marathons in 51 days to name but one. McCall has already taken on a Land’s End to John O’Groats bike relay, and rowed from Calais to Dover. But this challenge – which will see her scaling England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, swimming across Lake Windermere and topping the whole shebang off with a marathon-length run into London – sounds almost superhuman.

Nevertheless, when she got the call, there was never any question of saying no. ‘I have been working on Sport Relief since it was born, and Comic Relief for a very long time, and I would walk over hot coals for them,’ says a grinning McCall, wincing slightly as she eases herself into a chair after a 50-mile bike ride. ‘But there is fit – and then there is… this fit.’

McCall, who has essentially built a career on her chummy and bubbly persona, is just as friendly in real life. I suggest she might want a shower, a lie-down or some proper food before she deals with a bothersome journalist – but she insists she’s happy to chat straight away, wolfing down a sarnie as she speaks.

‘As a feminist, it bugs me,’ she says, ‘but kids and jobs and training are kind of a challenge, you know? And I constantly feel guilty about… sort of everything. Time with my children is precious, so to take huge chunks of time away from them is a hard commitment to make.

‘But they have been unbelievably supportive and they’re of the age now where I can sit them down and explain why I’m doing this. And my husband has been wonderful.’

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