Abhejali Bernardova (44, Czech Republic) of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team completed an extreme ultra-triathlon from Dover to Prague, during which she covered a total of 1111 km across the 3 disciplines: 34 km swimming, 895 km cycling, 182 km running. It took her 7 days, 12 hours and 5 minutes.
She started on Monday September 13 2021 at 3am from Dover. In very challenging conditions, with the wind at force 5, she swam the English Channel in 15 hours and 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.
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 4 days, was approximately 900 kilometres through France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. She arrived in Cheb on Saturday afternoon, then ran 182km to Prague, arriving on Monday afternoon. Her daily average was 220km cycling and 2 marathons running.
The Czech athlete successfully completed her first English Channel swim 10 years ago. In 2018 she became the 1st Czech, the 10th person in the world, 4th woman and the 1st person from a landlocked country to complete the Oceans Seven*, seven difficult long-distance swims around the world. She is also the only Czech holder of the Triple Crown** of long-distance swimming.
With her ultra-triathlon she aims 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 realise, we just put up unnecessary walls between us. She also tries to inspire others to overcome their own limits and show that these limits are often self-created.
(*) Oceans Seven include: English Channel, Gibraltrar Strait, Tsugaru Strait, Catalina Channel, Molokai Channel, North Channel, Cook Strait – all solo, non-wetsuit. See also: https://www.openwaterpedia.com/wiki/Oceans_Seven (**) The Triple Crown includes: English Channel, Catalina Channel, around Manhattan. https://www.openwaterpedia.com/wiki/Triple_Crown_of_Open_Water_Swimming
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Her love for swimming in the ocean
Wanting to share her adventures
Her childhood and growing up in the Czech Republic
Learning to swim in Russia
Not coming from a sports family
Hearing about the English Channel
Starting meditation at 18 years old with Sri Chinmoy
Wanting to know herself better
Wanting to step outside her comfort zone
Going to university and getting into running
Going after longer and longer distances
Running a marathon doing laps
“I can do more”
Swimming the English Channel in 2011
Getting into flow while swimming
Completing the Oceans 7 Challenge in 2018
Coping with the cold water
Taking cold showers in the morning
Being scared by sharks
Beautiful moments while swimming
Advice for going further with swimming
Tips and advice for recovery
Sleeping for 7 hrs a night
Being a Peace Ultra Runner
Loving the 24hrs races
When it gets difficult on the 24hr races
Deciding on a new challenge
The logistical challenges of putting the plan together
Being dependant on the weather for the swim
The training involved to get physically ready for the challenge
How her body has changed from 34 to 44
Needing more time to recover
Finishing in Prague
“I can do it - I have already done it”
Use your imagination even while training to tell yourself you can do it
Why you should DREAM BIG!!!
Future dream challenges
Thank you to Abhejali
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