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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Former 40-a-day smoker takes on California triathlon challenge

A WI member had to overcome a 40-a-day smoking habit and fear of open water to compete in a triathlon.

Mellissa Andrews photo
Melissa Andrews

Carlisle resident Melissa Andrews, 35, took part in a 70-mile charity triathlon in Sonoma, in California.

The gruelling event included a 1.2-mile open water swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a half marathon.

Melissa, of Durdar, isn’t a typical WI member, sporting pink hair and tattoos.

She has four children and had to battle a 40-a-day smoking habit and a fear of open water before her training could begin.

She said: “I had a lot to overcome before I could even take on the training for this challenge,” she said.

“It was a massive achievement.”

Her efforts will be featured in a television show Wonga Challenge Presents: Go Hard or Go Home.

Melissa was hand-picked for the four-part Channel 5 adventure challenge serious by the show’s producer.

Wonga is aiming to inspire 100,000 people to take up a personal challenge over the next year through its Wonga Challenge campaign.

A spokeswoman for the show said Melissa had put in an ‘heroic’ effort.

“She was determined to show her kids she could give up smoking and change her bad eating habits for good,” she said.

“She threw herself into the fitness programme, but suffered an injury a week before leaving for California which threatened to stop her from going at all.”

The company is promoting weekly motivational videos offering tips and training advice, as well as short films documenting the challenges others face up to.

The programme airs this month on Channel 5.

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