World champion triathlete Kate Strong is the first woman in the world to complete a 24-hour cycling marathon on a static bike, which saw her pedal 433.1 miles in a day and travel a further distance in one-, 12- and 24- hours than has previously been achieved by any other female athlete.
Taking place at Clifton Observatory in Bristol over a 24-hour period, Kate’s challenge started at 3pm on 26th May and saw her cycle a distance of 24.2 miles in the first hour and 232.1 miles in 12 hours. Kate’s times exceed her previous one-hour world record of 23.94 miles, which she broke on 7th January 2021, and the current record for 12 hours, which is 216.24 miles achieved by Slovenian athlete Tina Ternjak in 2012.
She is also the first female athlete ever to achieve a record for a woman cycling on a static bike for 24 hours – although a male record exists. Kate's world record attempts will be officiated by Guinness over the next three months.
Kate Strong said: “I’m so grateful and honoured to have attempted this challenge and earning three world records is a huge privilege. Being a 42-year old plant-based woman cycling a bamboo bike, most people would think what I attempted was impossible. I’m proud to be redefining what’s possible.”
“Personally, it’s not about the records, it’s about the people that held the space for me to elevate and grow, as well as the person I have become during these past 16 months of training.
“Since I took up sport alongside my professional career, I keep finding new ways to demonstrate that we are far greater than we could imagine and to hopefully inspire others - especially women - to step up and strive for greatness.”
Kate went vegan in 2012 after realising that her lung capacity was holding her back. As an asthmatic, Kate had often struggled with a shortness of breath but after removing dairy from her diet she found that within weeks she was no longer wheezy and was able to run much faster. In addition, it also cleared up her eczema and improved her sleeping pattern.
The forty-two-year-old only started training for athletic success in her early 30s and within two years was crowned age-group world champion in long-distance triathlon in 2014. Since that time, she has regularly participated in extreme sports and is already planning to undertake the Limitless Challenge between June 2023 and May 2024. The never before attempted feat will see her cycle 3,000 miles across the US, swim the English Channel and climb Everest all within 12 months.
The first part of Kate’s Limitless Challenge is Race across America (RAAM), one of the most respected and longest running ultra-endurance events in the world. RAAM is seen as a pinnacle of athletic achievement not only in cycling but the greater sporting community. She will cycle 3,000 miles across 12 states from the Pacific to the Atlantic coast, crossing the Rockies, the heartland of America and finally the Appalachians. RAAM involves over 190,000 feet of climbing, with temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius. Only 18% of participants are female.
In August 2023, Kate will swim approximately 21 miles across the English Channel in water temperatures ranging from 14 to 18 degrees Celsius, wearing only a bathing costume, swimming cap and goggles.
Kate’s final challenge will see her climb the highest peak in the world, standing at 8,848 meters in altitude. Only 7,000 people have previously climbed Everest and only 18% of them are female. Kate will be based in Kathmandu for approximately five months prior to attempting the summit to optimise training and acclimatisation.
The world record attempts and Limitless Challenge are about more than Kate’s own physical performance, she is also working with a team of researchers to better understand human performance more generally and how we can improve and elevate our mental and physical abilities in varying conditions.
Photos credit: Sarah Aboubakar, [email protected], @saboubakar18