Abhejali Bernardová Completes 1,111 km English Channel Triathlon
Oceans Seven swimmer Abhejali Bernardová of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team completed an extreme triathlon from Dover, England to Prague, Czech Republic called the English Channel Triathlon. The 44-year-old Czech athlete traversed 1,111 km (694 miles) under her own power. She explains, “Just getting into the water in Dover was a victory. I was scheduled to swim last year, but then had a bike accident. Then July was postponed because they would not allow travelers from UK to France and Germany where I needed to bike through. Then [again] in August the weather was not cooperating at all.
The whole journey was very interesting and inwardly rewarding, even though the swim was rather tough with wind force 5 for quite some time, otherwise 4, on a spring tide. Then, my diaphragm was blocked after four days of biking so it was difficult to breathe when I started running, before we figured out how to deal with that.“
She covered 33.5 km swimming, 895 km cycling, and 182 km running that took 7 days 12 hours and 5 minutes. She started on Monday, September 13th at 3 am from Dover. In very challenging conditions, with the wind at Force 5, she swam the English Channel in 15 hours 33 minutes. The only other successful crossing on the same day was a 5-person relay team. It was her last chance to swim this year and the swim had already been postponed a few times.
Current restrictions did not allow her to stay in France, so she had to take a detour back to Dover and then take a ferry to France. She then cycled from Calais to her hometown of Cheb, near the Czech/German border. The cycling leg, which took her four days, was approximately 900 kilometres through France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. She arrived in Cheb on Saturday afternoon, then ran 182 km to Prague, arriving on Monday afternoon. Her daily average was 220 km cycling and, effectively, 2 marathons running.
Bernardová successfully completed her first English Channel crossing 10 years ago. In 2018 she became the first Czech, tenth person in the world, fourth woman, and the first person from a landlocked country to complete the Oceans Seven. She is also the only Czech swimmers to complete the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming.
She writes, “With my ultra-triathlon, I hope to connect people and places and inspire others to break down and cross barriers in their own lives. If she can go from the UK to the Czech Republic under her own steam, then we really are closer to each other than we realize, we just put up unnecessary walls between us. I also want to inspire others to overcome their own limits and show that these limits are often self-created.
We can do more than we think.”
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