AN exercise co-ordinator will put her skills to the test this weekend when she becomes the first woman to take on a gruelling 202-mile charity challenge.

On Sunday, Helen Tones, from Gilesgate, will join nine men on the four-day Seb4CHUF coast-to-coast (C2C) challenge.

The group will cycle, swim and run their way from Whitehaven to Tynemouth, hopefully touching their toes in the North Sea on Wednesday afternoon.

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The event was devised by charity trustee Ivan Hollingsworth, whose son Sebastian underwent lifesaving heart surgery at the Freeman Hospital.

This will be the fifth time the daunting challenge has been attempted and Helen is the first woman to take part.

The 39-year-old mother said: “I’d heard lots about the past C2C challenges, but had never felt confident enough to be able to either complete the challenge or do the team and myself justice."

However, earlier this year she took part in a 200km duathlon to raise money for the same cause.

She said: “I was running in front of Ivan and I heard him talking to somebody else about where the proceeds were spent and how every penny was really crucial.

“There’s already been a tremendous team spirit generated in the build up, so the thought of completing this huge task as part of that team, and raising much needed funds for charity is something I’m really excited about.”

Anyone wishing to donate can text CHUF99 and the amount to 70070 or visit