Comic Relief Challenge is tougher than 20 years of training, says Olympian Tom Daley


Tom Daley said his grueling four-day Comic Relief Challenge was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done”.

It’s the last day of his Hell Of A Homecoming mission, which saw him rowing, swimming, cycling and running from London to his hometown of Plymouth, Devon.

During the Red Nose Day Challenge, Daley visited places that have played a significant role in his life and career.

The Olympic diver started his final 30-mile run from Bovey Castle in Dartmoor National Park on Thursday, where he married director Dustin Black five years ago.

On BBC Breakfast’s live broadcast, gold medalist Daley said he had “only run 18 miles in training”.

Speaking about his last race, the 27-year-old said: “It will be the toughest test for my body because it will be the highest impact I’m going to face, and again it’s very hilly.

“Right now it looks like the sky is clear but I think the winds are going to pick up, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

“I’ve been training for the Olympics, I’ve been training for all these 20 years I’ve been in diving, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life, physically, it’s just been one thing to another for the next day and the cumulative impact it’s had, I look and feel bad.

Tom Daley drives through Winchester on day two of his Comic Relief challenge (Andrew Matthews/PA)PA Wire/PA Images – Andrew Matthews

“I feel like I’ve been out all night but without any enjoyment and I feel completely drained, but one more day and I’m just waiting to see my family at the finish line.”

Daley began his homecoming tour on Monday, when he left the London Aquatics Center in Stratford for a six-mile row to Tower Pier, before a 60-mile cycle to Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake in Reading , Berkshire.

On day two he completed a 1,600 meter open water swim before beginning a 63 mile cycle to Southampton.

Daley braved heavy rain and wind on a 130-mile cycle from Southampton on Wednesday, climbing more than 3,000ft to raise money for Comic Relief.

Speaking about the challenge so far, Daley said: “Honestly, I’m exhausted. In the last three days I’ve done things to my body that I never thought I could do.

“I feel physically drained, mentally drained and spent 15.5 hours on a bike yesterday, up some of the craziest hills in wind and weather.

Comic relief 2022Tom Daley and TV presenter Davina McCall at the start line of Tom’s bike ride from the Tower of London (Victoria Jones/PA)PA Wire/PA Images – Victoria Jones

“I can’t tell you how hard it was to ride in those headwinds all the way here.

“Honestly the hardest moment was last night walking into Bovey Castle the hills were so bad the wind was bad and I got to a point where my legs just gave out and I fell, I couldn’t move.

“I was trying to push the thing forward and then I started to wobble and then before I knew it I was on the ground but had to get back on the bike to get here .

“Today is the last day, it’s the home stretch, and raising money for Comic Relief is super important because it’s going to help so many people across the country, so if people can donate it will mean the world.”

Crowds gathered and a choir sang outside Chateau de Bovey on Thursday as they waved him off on the final leg of his fundraising mission.


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