Celebrities start London to Matterhorn charity challenge

Virgin Strive Challenge begins

Virgin STRIVE Challenge@Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images

Today, a team of adventurers including many familiar celebrities begin their journey from London to Matterhorn in Switzerland, entirely under human power.

The "core" team will be joined by hundreds of other participants across the different legs of the journey, which starts at the 02 Arena in Greenwich, south east London.

The Virgin Strive Challenge is hoping to raise £750,000 for Big Change, a charity founded by six people including Sam and Holly Branson, son and daughter of Virgin entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, plus Princess Beatrice. Funds raised will go towards a series of life skills projects designed to help young people in the UK. Words:PA

The challenge starts with three back-to-back marathons from London to Dover, via Gravesend and Faversham. The core team will be joined by more than 150 runners across the three marathons.

The next leg will be rowing across the Channel, which will be undertaken by the core team only.

The team will then start an eight-day cycle from Boulogne-sur-Mer to Verbier in Switzerland. This will be broken down into two four-day legs over which 160 different cyclists will take part (80 per leg).

On arrival in Verbier, the team will be met by 40 hikers and complete a seven- day trek to Zermatt, through the Alps, on the Haute Route.

The final leg of the challenge will see the team tackle the Matterhorn, with plans to reach the summit nearly 30 days after leaving London.

The core team includes Sam Branson, former Wimbledon tennis champion Marion Bartoli and transatlantic and Indian Ocean rower Fiona Waller.

Among those supporting them will be wheelchair basketball player and TV presenter Ade Adepitan, sailor Sir Ben Ainslie, comedian Jack Whitehall, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and TV science presenter Brian Cox.

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