Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Endurance athletes start seven-day challenge

TOP endurance athletes set off yesterday on one of the world’s most gruelling adventure races.

This year’s seven-day Adventure Race World Championship takes place in and near Fort William.

It involves nearly 200 of the globe’s fittest athletes careering virtually non-stop across 330 miles of Britain’s most rugged countryside.

One of the teams taking part had to be helicoptered onto the island of Rum in the Hebrides - the starting point for the race - because of ferry problems.

The event began with the 196 competitors diving into the water to swim through open seas, before trekking through the Cuillin mountains. The mixed teams of four will have to drag themselves up and down the equivalent of three Mount Everests (82,000ft), hurl themselves around on mountain bikes, kayak across windswept seas and swim freezing lochs - all with barely any sleep.

Top performers try to make do with an hour of sleep a day during the event - with some mavericks opting for none at all during the whole race.

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