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Countess takes on 445 mile cycle challenge

The Countess of Wessex will ride from Holyrood to Buckingham Palace as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award's Diamond Challenge...

The Countess of Wessex is taking on a 445 mile charity bike ride, from the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in London, as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award’s (DofE) Diamond Challenge.

Although she admits cycling isn’t something she normally does,  and she's fallen off a few times in training, the 51-year-old mother of two hopes to finish the Palace to Palace bike ride in seven days.

The Diamond Challenge marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the DofE scheme, and encourages people of all ages to take on challenges to raise money, which will help young disadvantaged people to take part in their own challenges.

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The Countess said she chose cycling specifically because it is out of her comfort zone. On her JustGiving page she writes: "I am now training hard and trying to get to grips with the kit, the fitness level, the seat(!), the aching shoulders, wrists and backside, the terrifying roads, the hills and worst of all the cleats!

"Yes I have come off several times, but the bruises are fading and each time out gets a little better. The training is hard work but I am determined to be fit enough to complete my journey. Your support in sponsoring me will make me all the more determined."

She praises the work of the DofE award in helping give young people the chance to realise their potential, regardless of their background. 

She says: "I have personally witnessed the incredible impact the Award has on every young life it touches, so I had no hesitation in agreeing to play my part."

On a BBC Breakfast interview the Countess, who is riding a Boardman Team carbon road bike, said: “to be honest with you cycling isn’t something I normally do, other than with the children on the odd occasion.”

 “I keep thinking, ‘what have I done?’”

When asked about older women participating in sport, she said: “It’s something for yourself. It helps you get up in the morning, and juggle everything else that you’ve got to do.”

The Countess has raised almost £2.5k for her challenge so far. You can find out more about the Diamond Challenge here.

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