Tom Daley Proves His Endurance for Charity

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday February 18, 2022
Originally published on February 18, 2022

Out Olympic diving champ Tom Daley proved his mettle, completing a grueling four-day "Hell of a Homecoming" challenge: Running, swimming, rowing, and cycling to benefit Comic Relief, a UK charity that works to combat poverty.

The event saw Daley complete a course from London all the way to Plymouth, UK news site the Daily Mail reported.

"Over 4 days Tom swam in freezing cold open waters, cycled some of the nation's toughest routes into gusting winds, rowed down the choppy Thames and completed an ultra-marathon as he made his way back home," text on the Comic Relief site detailed, adding that the "challenge pushed Tom to his absolute limits and further out of his comfort zone than ever before."

Daley "began the mission on Monday, leaving the London Aquatics Centre in Stratford for a six-mile (9.5km) row to Tower Pier, where he overturned his boat in the River Thames," the BBC said. "He then completed a 60-mile (97km) cycle to the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake in Reading, Berkshire."

And that was just on the first day. The athlete went on to complete a 1,600-meter "open swim," then hopped on a bicycle for a 63-mile ride for the second day's challenges. Day Three saw Daley brave wind and rain for 130 miles during a second bicycle ride, overcoming hills that took him up some 3,000 feet in elevation.

The 27-year-old champ rode until he couldn't any longer. He even fell off his bicycle and briefly could not move "but [I] had to get back on the bike," Daley told the media.

On the fourth and final day, Feb. 17, Daley "set off on his final 30-mile (48km) run from Bovey Castle in Dartmoor National Park where he married film director Dustin Lance Black, five years ago," the BBC said.

Gender-fluid comedian Eddie Izzard, who uses she/her pronouns, joined Daley for part of the home stretch, the Mail reported. After running together for a time, Daley and Izzard "posed for a slew of snaps and enjoyed a sweet embrace before Tom continued on his journey to the finish line."

Even for an athlete in top form, the challenge was arduous, with wind and nearly-freezing temperatures both on land and in the water. "I trained for the Olympics, I trained for all of those 20 years that I have been in diving," Daley told the BBC, but "this is the hardest thing that I have ever had to do in my life, physically," he added.

It was for a good cause, though.

"Raising money for Comic Relief is super important because it's going to help so many people across the country, so if people can donate it will mean the world," Daley told the press.

Asking his fans to "please donate what you can," Daley described his victory by saying, "To come home and see all my family here, as well as so many people, is pretty special, so thank you. I don't really know what else to say other than I just need to go and sleep for about six years! Thank you all so much and love you."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.