While most of us will be relaxing over Easter weekend, catching up with family and friends, Steve Backshall and Helen Glover will be taking part in a 125-mile kayak race. The sporty couple, who married in a wedding exclusively covered by HELLO! magazine last year, have set themselves the challenge of kayaking non-stop from Devizes in Wiltshire to the Houses of Parliament at Westminster in the classic DW race.
Steve has completed the challenge twice before, but this year marks Helen's first. "I'm so chuffed that Helen's first ever endurance race is with me," Steve told HELLO! Online. "If we succeed at this together it's something we'll be able to tell our grandchildren about!" The wildlife presenter, 43, has been sharing his tips with his Olympic champion rower wife. "Helen is a racer," said Steve. "Her Olympic finals last seven minutes. So I need to get her to stay within herself and not go off too fast. If we do, we'll be paying for it big time later in the race. We'll be aiming to maintain a constant hard pace, and never stop – that would be fatal!"
The couple will kayak through 77 locks on the course, and are aiming to complete the race in 24 hours. Despite anticipating the challenge as "incredibly painful", Steve and Helen will be keeping each other's spirits up when the tiredness kicks in. "We have loads of little games we play, like naming a hundred animals beginning with 'A', and spotting kingfishers, ducklings and Great Crested Grebes along the waterways!" said Steve.
The newlyweds are raising funds to protect a section of rainforest in Malaysian Borneo, to save it from being cut down to make way for oil palm plantations, and to safeguard the wealth of threatened wildlife found there. Helen and Steve have a target of £100,000. The money will go towards buying a patch of jungle alongside the Kinabatangan river in Borneo. "It's home to orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and a huge variety of other life," said the Deadly 60 star. "We'd love to go out and see it once we've bought it, but will just be happy knowing we've done our bit to try and make a positive difference."
Steve Backshall and Helen Glover married last year
Steve added: "I've spent a lot of time in this part of the Borneo rainforest, and it is one of the most vibrant, colourful places you can imagine, bursting with life. When I heard it was up for sale, and would otherwise be cut down, Helen and I had to do something. The World Land Trust is giving us the opportunity to save this threatened paradise for the future, and that is a rare privilege."
For more information visit www.worldlandtrust.org/fundraising/backshall-saving-kinabatangan.