Royal Central first reported Sophie, the Countess of Wessex undertaking a bicycle challenge to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Diamond Challenge in May. Sophie began the 716km journey on Monday, 20 September. She left the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh heading south to London.
Her husband, Edward, the Earl of Wessex and her father-in-law, the Duke of Edinburgh were present to see Sophie and her six fellow riders, all members of the military regiments she supports off. This is a significant moment for the organisation the Duke of Edinburgh started 60 years ago. The DoE challenges youth to undertake physical and mental challenges and goals to build strength, self-esteem and confidence. This ride is to raise awareness of the DoE Award.
The group’s long ride south will last for a week until they arrive at Buckingham Palace. Before beginning her challenge, where she will ride over 60 miles a day, Sophie confessed to being “very nervous.” And her husband and father-in-law thought her “mad” for taking up such a daunting challenge. But isn’t the DoE all about pushing yourself? The Countess did admit to ITV that at 51, this wasn’t an easy challenge to take up. She also stated she hasn’t lost weight from all her training, but her shape definitely has changed.
Sophie has not only trained hard to prepare herself for this journey, she’s raised over £94,000 through her Diamond Challenge for the DoE Award. She has worked hard for the past six months to ready herself for this trip.
Sophie told ITV this past weekend of her training struggles: “When I was going up yet another hill I just thought this isn’t possible. So I’ve probably surprised myself as to how far I’ve progressed and have proven to myself that yes, I’m getting off my backside and I’m going to do something.” She also admitted she didn’t have to go far to find a source of inspiration, as her father-in-law, at 95, still keeps fit and is as spry as ever.