A cancer survivor’s attempt to break four world records to raise awareness of women’s menstrual & reproductive health brought her to Bala.
Andrea Mason’s successful attempt to break the records by completing the Sea to Summit Extreme challenge in the fastest time, started at Bala Lake on Sunday, 24 July. Andrea swam the three longest lakes in Wales, England and Scotland, climbed the three highest mountains, and cycled between them. The 40-year-old from Blackpool swam swim 65km, cycled 800km, and ran 44km up three mountains in just five days. Andrea’s four world record are:
- The fastest known person to swim Lake Bala, cycle to and run Snowdon
- The fastest known person to swim Lake Windemere, cycle to and run Scafell Pike
- The fastest known person to swim Loch Awe, cycle to and run Ben Nevis
- The fastest known person to swim and run the longest lake and highest peak in Wales, England and Scotland, cycling between them
Her motivation for the challenge came after a diagnosis of severe endometriosis and cervical cancer in 2017 which resulted in life-saving surgery. Like many women, it took Andrea years to get an endometriosis diagnosis and after missing several smear tests, she is on mission to encourage women worldwide to attend their tests. She is also tackling the taboo surrounding menstrual and reproductive health which means many conditions go undiagnosed.
She has already helped raise awareness with her two previous Sea to Summit Extreme challenges, and by setting up a charity, Lady Talk Matters (www.ladytalkmatters.org), which has an interactive, globally available platform giving access to menstrual education for people of all ages, race and socio-economic status.
“Despite improvements, the menstrual health education is substantially below par both globally and in many schools within the UK”, said Andrea before the challenge.
“I believe we must improve the current education and empower both girls and boys with knowledge of menstrual and reproductive health.
“We need future generations to grow up feeling confident talking about this. Sea to Summit Extreme is one way to get people talking normally about menstrual health.
“This was definitely the hardest challenge I have ever completed. I thought a lot about why I was doing it, female menstrual health should not be a taboo subject, we need to talk about it! I kept putting one arm in front of the other, and one leg in front of the other until I reached the end, hoping that every stroke and stride was helping to raise awareness.”
For more information about Andrea and her challenge, visit www.seatosummitextreme.com.
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