Photo gallery: Transatlantic triathlete Katy is finally on the home straight
PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 December 2013 | UPDATED: 09:31 09 January 2014
She has cycled across the vast landscapes of Canada from west to east and run the London Marathon, and now Katy Owen is on the home straight of an epic transatlantic triathlon that is set to raise an incredible £12,000 for two cancer charities.
Katy set herself the daunting challenge in honour of the courage of three inspirational women and their battles with cancer, and she is due to complete the third and final part of her challenge on New Year’s Day.
The 30-year-old, who lives in Newmarket Street, Norwich, will begin 2014 by plunging into the icy cold Pacific Ocean and taking part in the Polar Bear Plunge off the coast of Vancouver.
Katy’s aim throughout has been to raise a huge amount for Macmillan Cancer Support and Cancer Research UK, and her inspiration for her gruelling quest is the bravery of her mum Jacqueline Owen, who has a currently incurable blood cancer, as well as her aunt Janet Jarvis and her friend’s mum Sue Stanley, who both died from cancer.
She said she wanted to “honour the strength, spirit and unrelenting positivity of these three amazing women” by doing as much as she can to help in the fight against the condition that affects so many families.
Originally Katy had hoped to raise £10,000, but after smashing her target she now looks set to reach £12,000 – and people have until January 1 to show their support and add even more to Katy’s total.
“I just cannot believe the response from people. It’s been amazing. I’d like to say a huge thanks to everyone,” she said. “I am really proud how much money has been raised. It just goes to show there’s no limits to what you can achieve, other than what you set yourself.”
Katy, who has recently completed a PhD in marine biology at the UEA, ran the London Marathon in 4hr 48min in April this year, and in July she began her solo cycle ride across Canada.
Starting in Vancouver, British Colombia, and ending up in Halifax, Nova Scotia, it took Katy 61 days to cycle about 5,000 miles across the vast country.
“I dipped my wheel in the Pacific Ocean in Vancouver at the start of my ride,” she said.
“My friend Greg Conn, who lives in Vancouver, cycled with me out of the city, and then I was on my own and I headed for the Rockies.
“I camped most of the way – it was quite remote in some places so you wouldn’t really see shops or hotels for a couple of days at a time until you came into the next town.”
She said one of the highlights of her trip was cycling the Kootenay Pass, in British Colombia, which has an elevation of 1774m and is one of the highest highway-served mountain passes in Canada.
From the mountainous Canadian Rockies, through the vast prairies, passing by the Great Lakes, and then on to Toronto, Canada’s capital Ottawa, and Quebec among other places, Katy reached the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Halifax in early September.
“I met some really lovely people along the way. Complete strangers would ask me what I was doing and would show their support,” she said.
“The support of the people who have sponsored me, the people of Canada who were so lovely to me along the way, and knowing how much money was at a stake for two amazing charities all really spurred me on. There was no way I would have stopped.”
Now she is looking ahead to the final part of the challenge. She is flying to Canada tomorrow, and on New Year’s Day will be donning fancy dress and taking part in the annual 100-yard Polar Bear Swim in the Pacific Ocean at Vancouver’s English Bay.
About the swim, Katy said: “I think it’s what I am dreading the most out of the three challenges because it is going to be so cold!
“But I am very excited too. It’s been a really big year. I have just finished my PhD in marine biology, I’ve just turned 30 and I’ve raised all this money.
“I just want to keep the ball rolling. I just want to do what I can to help and I want to encourage other people to take on their own fundraising too.”
Katy, who originally had the idea to do her mammoth triathlon after her friend Michael Godard ran the London Marathon to raise money for the hospice which helped his mum Sue Stanley, said she was already thinking about new fundraising challenges, possibly a 50-mile ultra marathon.
To sponsor Katy visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KatyOwen or email firstname.lastname@example.org