Cancer Survivor Becomes First Woman To Complete Grueling Triathlon Covering 330 Miles in 5 Days
A cancer survivor has become the first woman to complete a grueling ‘Sea to Summit’ triathlon which saw her swim, cycle, and run over 330 miles in just five days.
Andrea Mason didn’t sleep and barely ate during the duration of the “insane” challenge, but she was ecstatic when she crossed the finish line early Wednesday morning.
The race, set in the French Alps, involved swimming around the circumference of Lake Annecy, then cycling and running up Mont Blanc—at 15,774 ft, it’s the second highest peak in Europe.
Setting off at 6:15am on Friday, 39-year-old Mason battled through severe pain, cramping, and hallucinations, but she pushed on—managing to complete the race in an impressive four days, 23 hours, and 41 minutes.
Andrea had been diagnosed with severe endometriosis and cervical cancer in 2017 and needed life-saving surgery.
Following a successful operation, she is now hoping to raise awareness of women’s reproductive health, and of endometriosis in particular, which is a debilitating condition that causes painful or heavy periods.
In the past year, Andrea’s set up her own charity, Lady Talk Matters, in a bid to normalize the conversation surrounding female reproductive matters.
Andrea, from Blackpool in Lancashire, England, said, “I feel happy, exhausted, and relieved.
“I am so happy all went to plan as there were so many things that could have gone wrong. I wanted to do it in five days, and I did, but it was tough, really tough.
“I had some low moments, particularly when I couldn’t sleep in my limited rest periods, and when I couldn’t keep any food down as I was running.
“For sure I had some doubts along the way. I was venturing into the unknown with such a huge run, particularly as large parts of it were in the dark.
“It was bigger than I imagined, the impact on my body was huge, but every time I felt like stopping and considered giving up, I kept remembering why I was doing it.
“I thought about all the women out there in pain or who still hadn’t been diagnosed. That is why I put myself through this.”
Andrea had to swim 23 miles around the circumference of Lake Annecy, cycle 205 miles with 30,000 feet of vertical climbing around Mont Blanc, and run 105 miles with 4,000 feet of vertical climbing around the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc.
A prolific swimmer, you could say Andrea’s actually spent a lifetime training for an event like this. She completed her first three-mile race “powered by Mars bars” when she was just four.