A British TV presenter attempted to cross the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Scotland in a zorb — a plastic orb that is essentially a human-sized hamster ball. While it may sound a little bit crazy, the challenge was for a good cause: Lindsey Russell was supporting Sport Relief, a UK fundraising organization that challenges participants to walk, run, swim or cycle to raise money for good causes.
In a specially-outfitted zorb designed to float on water, Russell hoped to run the 34.8 kilometer (21.6 mile) channel distance in about 14 hours — the same amount of time the channel normally takes to swim. She set off at 6:30 a.m., just as dawn broke in Northern Ireland. By noon, she had managed to travel over 20 kilometers (12 miles), with just one short break for an energy-boosting snack.
Unfortunately, during the afternoon, weather conditions began to degrade and Russell was forced to abandon her journey. She’d managed to travel 17 nautical miles, or about 31 kilometers — so she was incredibly close to her destination when she had to stop.
Normally, the giant inflatable zorb is a simple plastic ball used to roll on land. In order to make the journey, Russell had to have hers modified with an external frame attached to a set of paddles to help it move across the water. Russell reported that she’d spent five months training for the grueling challenge.