Billy Monger: How Zoe Ball helped me complete 140-mile charity challenge

Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter
·3-min read

Double amputee racing driver Billy Monger has said words of advice from Zoe Ball helped him finish his 140-mile triathlon-inspired charity challenge when he was “running on fumes”.

The 21-year-old tackled the gruelling event over five days to raise money for Red Nose Day – completing the final 50-mile stretch walking and cycling laps of Brands Hatch race track in Kent.

A documentary following his journey across England will air on BBC One on Thursday.

The Audio and Radio Industry Awards – London
Zoe Ball (Lia Toby/PA)

Monger, who lost both legs in a racing accident four years ago, was met by a number of stars and Comic Relief supporters, including pop star Cheryl, during his journey.

BBC Radio 2 host Zoe Ball, who cycled more than 300 miles for Sport Relief in 2018, joined him at Brands Hatch shortly before he finished the challenge on foot.

Monger told the PA news agency her advice had helped him cross the finish line.

He said: “Zoe came to see me on the last day and at that point I woke up in the morning and I literally had nothing left in the tank before I even started the last day. I was running on fumes basically.

“One of the first things she said to me was about how she felt exactly the same and it was pure adrenaline that got her through the last day, and knowing that you were nearly there. That is exactly how I felt at the time.

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“I was a nice bit of relief for me to think that, when I woke up on the last day and felt as bad as I did.

“I thought, ‘I feel terrible physically so how am I going to get through this?’ and the fact that she was like, ‘I felt the same and it was just a pure adrenaline rush that got me through it’, that made me feel more at ease.”

He added: “Everyone that I met, all the celebrities, people like Cheryl and Zoe Ball that had done challenges before for Comic Relief, every one of them had something positive.”

Monger said the thought he was raising money for Comic Relief motivated him to keep pushing through the “dark and tough” moments.

“There were a lot of times during the challenge and during the training where I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew,” he said.

“I didn’t know whether I had enough energy and motivation to get me through it.

“But every time I got to the really dark and tough moments of the challenge, because there were highs and lows obviously, it was just again reminding yourself, ‘Why are we doing this?’”

Monger began racing at the age of six, but in April 2017 he suffered life-changing injuries in a crash during a British F4 race which resulted in the amputation of both legs.

However, he was back at the wheel within a year and underwent months of training to take on the charity challenge.

Watch Billy Monger’s Big Red Nose Day Challenge on BBC One at 9pm on Thursday.

Donations can be made at www.comicrelief.com/rednoseday/challenges/billy.