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Darlington personal trainer takes on The Yorkshire Beast


Jun 9, 2021

Darlington-based personal trainer, Sara Woods, has taken part in what has been named the ‘toughest event on a road bike’.

The 55-year-old, who is a self-employed personal trainer at the Bannatyne health club in Darlington, applied to participate in The Yorkshire Beast following a major operation.

The Yorkshire Beast is a 200-mile cycle which includes 16,000 ft of climbing. The route includes notorious hills Rosedale Chimney, which at its steepest point has an incline of 33 per cent, and Askrigg, with five miles of climbing at a 22 per cent incline.

Participants must maintain an average speed of 12.5mph to successfully complete the course.

Sara, who took part in the challenge with her husband David, had a hip replacement in July 2020, and aimed to get as far round the course as she possibly could.

To help her conquer the challenge, she trained five or six times a week at the Bannatyne health club in Darlington since December 2020.

Sara said: “I have undergone a hip replacement and set myself the challenge of recovering quickly so I was able to go skiing in January. Due to the pandemic and restrictions on international travel, it wasn’t possible, so I aimed to set myself another goal.

“When looking at UK based challenges, I came across The Yorkshire Beast and thought ‘why not, just give it a go’ and so I put my all into it and completed as much as I possibly could!

“I have never been a keen cyclist and was always more into running but after my hip replacement, running was no longer an option. As a personal trainer I needed a way to keep fit, so I began cycling.

“I was under no illusions as to how hard the challenge is, only three per cent of entrants are women and not everyone finishes, so I was proud to finish the first leg of the course!

“The 9,000ft I did climb would take me from sea level to a third of the way up Mount Everest, so when you put it like that, I feel very pleased with myself.”

Lucy Readshaw, general manager at the Bannatyne health club in
Darlington, said: “I would like to say a huge ‘well done’ to Sara for taking on The Yorkshire Beast challenge!

“Her training efforts throughout the last few months have not gone unnoticed and she did very well to complete the first stage of the course.”