A WOMAN has completed one of the UK’s toughest challenges and her team came second in the gruelling five-day race.
Sarah Warburton, 34, who works in Huddersfield, and her four team-mates journeyed across the Outer Hebrides by kayak, swimming, hill-running and road and mountain biking.
They completed the 434-mile super-tough Hebridean Challenge in just five days.
Sarah’s sponsorship raised more than £1,300 for the Child Poverty Action Group charity, which campaigns for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and to promote a better deal for low-income families and children.
Sarah’s team finished as runners-up in the 17-team challenge.
Some of the challenge was in relay stages and in other sections two, three or even all five team members had to take part.
Sarah, a welfare rights adviser with Huddersfield solicitors Ridley and Hall, is a keen kayaker.
She has spoken about how tough the ordeal became.
“Racing started at 6am on most days, which meant we usually had to be up at 4.30am to get the tents taken down and to be in position ready for the first leg to start,’’ she said.
“The single most difficult thing about the race for us was the length and the intensity of the days. Right from that 4.30am start every one of us was completely absorbed.
“If any of us were not on a racing leg we would be sorting out kit, trying to eat, getting kit ready for the next leg, helping a team member to get organised after or before their leg or getting our heads round like where a bike needed dropping off or picking up or where the van needed to get to.
“This was always interspersed with tense moments, waiting to see if our team-mate would be the next to cycle round the corner or descend out of the mist to tag the outgoing rider, runner, swimmer, kayaker on to their next leg.’’
Sarah felt the team learned a lot about one another – and themselves.
She said: “Maintaining a clear head and a good sense of humour at all times was a real strength of our team. It helped to keep us focused as the cumulative effects of sleep deprivation and exhaustion began to take their toll.
“We were also logistically very well organised – both before and during the race – which helped us no end.
“All our training paid off as we found it within ourselves to keep going at a reasonable pace all week, even when we were really tired.
“We struggled to eat; it becomes hard after three days to find anything at all appetising.
“But we saw ourselves through with somewhat bizarre combinations like coffee mixed with the energy supplement drink Complan.”
Sarah, who lives in Calderdale with husband Jago Parfitt, a professional juggler, added: “Recovering from the race has been harder mentally than it has been physically, which is the opposite of what I expected.’’