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paulandsteve

challenge completed: how they did it!

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the plan

This was always going to be a demanding 8 day physical test pushing the endurance levels of both Steve Prescott and his friend, former team-mate and ex-Great Britain captain Paul "Scully" Sculthorpe.

The rugby league legends were against the clock as they had to run 2 of the world's most renowned marathons, cycle hundreds of miles and take to the water in a unique cross-channel voyage.

This incredible journey was made up of 5 legs:

1. run the Paris marathon (Sunday 15 April)

2. cycle from Paris to the English Channel

3. cross the English Channel in individual kayaks

4. cycle from the English South coast to London

5. run the London marathon (Sunday 22 April)

 

off to a good start

On the morning of Sunday 15 April 2012, at the Arc de Triomphe, Steve and Paul began their unique route to London. The pair started as they meant to go on, completing France's most famous marathon in less than 4.5 hours. 

On the Monday and Tuesday, they cycled 186 miles from Paris to Calais ready to take on the Channel crossing in their kayaks.

 

trouble at sea

Unfortunately, on their arrival at Calais they were greeted by 7 metre high waves and a force 8 gale. The crossing had to be postponed until it was safe enough to take to the water.

Completing the challenge within the timescale was now looking uncertain as the conditions didn't seem to be improving. To safeguard against losing any more time, Steve and Paul opted to take the ferry over to England to embark on the Dover to London cycle 'leg' with the intention to return to complete the Channel crossing on the Thursday.

The duo successfully pedalled the 70+ miles to London and signed in for Sunday's London Marathon before driving back to Dover.

On Wednesday night they were told the dark news that the weather would not be improving and the channel crossing was now in real jeopardy. Thursday came and went with the challengers left simply to stare out to sea.

Kayaking was then ruled out altogether for safety reasons but there was a chance the crossing could be attempted but only in a 5-man rowing boat. Time to call for back-up! Following a rallying call for assistance 3 former St Helens team-mates (Chris Joynt, Bernard Dwyer and Steve Hall) came to the rescue by taking the remaining 3 places in the boat.

The crossing was finally attempted on the Saturday and, through stubborn gale force 4 conditions, the group successfully rowed the Channel in 7.5 hours. 

 

an heroic finish

A full day rowing in the English Channel was not the greatest way to prepare for a 26 mile run the following day.

Incredibly, this epic 8 day challenge was completed in fine style when Steve and Paul crossed the Virgin London Marathon finishing line in a time of 4 hours 23 minutes - a personal best for both inspirational men. What a finish!

 

Read Steve's own words from his Paris to London daily blogs and view videos and pictures from the challenge.