Worthing Hospital physio overcomes eating disorder to take on epic 7,000km ride across Canada
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Karina Bennett, who lives in Rustington, started the epic challenge on May 1 and hopes to finish the ride from the west to the east coast at the end of next month.
The Worthing Hospital physio is joined by a team of friends to raise funds for BEAT – a charity that provides a range of services for people affected by eating disorders.
Karina has experience of the charity’s work, having overcome an eating disorder herself.
She said: “As someone who has personally experienced the challenges and consequences of disordered eating and RED-S, I am deeply passionate about supporting this cause.
"I was a long-distance runner during my late teens and struggled with an eating disorder, which led to the female athlete triad now known as RED-S (Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport).
"The female athlete triad occurs in female athletes and is characterised by the presence of disordered eating, amenorrhea (the absence of menstrual periods), and osteoporosis (weakening of the bones).
“This led to three years without a menstrual period, osteoporotic bone density, and a neck of femur stress fracture, which required a two-year and more recovery period.
"My aim is to increase awareness among physiotherapists, GPs, running clubs, and young athletes about these conditions and how to help earlier on.”
Karina and her friends started in Vancouver, heading through British Columbia, where they had days of 27 degree heat and then days with pouring rain and freezing temperatures.
Then then crossed into Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with lots of headwind, rolling hills and vast flat terrain. As they crossed the border into Ontario this week, they have totalled 2,569km in 20 days of cycling. Karina added: “We have enjoyed visiting the small towns that we have stopped in and meeting lots of enthusiastic people along the way.”
Speaking about taking on the challenge, the 24-year-old added: “By participating in this ride, I hope to not only push myself out of my comfort zone but also make a positive impact on the lives of others.”
To sponsor Karina, visit https://www.justgiving.com/page/karina-bennett-1677427295590