A British TV host tried to run 20 miles across the Irish Sea. She nearly made it, too. Inside a 10-foot-wide inflatable ball attached to paddles, 25-year-old Lindsey Russell set off from Donaghadee in Northern Ireland at 6:30am on Thursday in an attempt to raise money for Sport Relief, which helps fund children's education, vaccines, mental health initiatives, and more. The journey to Scotland's Portpatrick Harbor—which would see Russell roll the ball or "zorb" from the inside with her hands and feet—was expected to take about 14 hours, or the same time it would take to swim the distance, per the Belfast Telegraph and BBC. But 10 hours and 17 nautical miles into the trek, Russell was forced to give up because of bad weather.
"The sea has been crossed in so many ways—jet skiing or swimming—but this just felt different and silly and a bit mad," the host of CBBC's Blue Peter said before setting off. She completed the London Marathon and the Swiss Army's mountain race for practice and was soon running up to seven hours per day. She also practiced fighting huge waves, though it wasn't enough to beat the harsh weather on the open water. Still, Russell was greeted by cheering fans when she arrived in Scotland by boat. The "challenge was always going to be incredibly hard and zorbing many miles across the Irish Channel is a huge achievement," a Sport Relief rep says. It was "the most epic day," Russell tweeted, adding she's proud but tired. (This woman completed the "world's toughest swim" last summer.)