Pippa Middleton bikes 30 miles in duathalon. Pippa Middleton finishes 5K race. Pippa Middleton takes a turn around the ice rink without falling on her almost-royal bottom. And now this past weekend, the younger sister of Katherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, completed a 56-mile cross-country ski marathon in Sweden.
Holy cripes, Pippa Middleton is exhausting.
Placing 412th in a field of 15,800 competitors, Pippa raced the Vasaloppet ski marathon to raise $12,000 for Magic Breakfast, a UK charity that delivers breakfast to school kids. From Middleton’s JustGiving fundraising page:
Magic Breakfast has been providing free breakfasts for nine years to UK primary schools where over 50% of pupils are on free school meals. The charity, which won a ‘Big Society’ award last year, provides food for 6,000 children in 200 schools, in some of the most deprived parts of the country and is struggling to meet the increased demand. And astonishing 32% of children arrive at school without having had breakfast, undermining their ability to learn and achieve so this charity provides a practical, immediate solution to the problem of child hunger and improved child energy and concentration levels.
You know what I was doing last weekend? Not skiing 56 miles for charity, I can tell you that. I didn’t even put my very-unroyal bottom into the seat of my minivan and drive 56 miles for charity. (Although, my middle child did volunteer at a local animal shelter and was peed on by a scared cat, so maybe I did contribute via a degree or two of separation.)
Of course, I could argue that working several part-time jobs, maintaining a household without staff, and keeping dibs on three active children precludes and excuses my not jetting off to Northern Europe for a weekend of thigh-burning recreation and aprés-ski refreshment. I could point out that, although I take a bit of exercise now and then to fend off osteoporosis (as per my doctor’s threatening photos of octogenarian grannies walking hunched and staring at their orthopedic shoes), I am in no way ripped, vascular, coordinated, or in possession of the stamina of a race horse. Furthermore, I look bad in spandex.
But — let’s face it — even if I did scrape together the plane fare and a form-fitting synthetic base layer, I simply don’t have enough charm or notoriety to raise $12,000 for anyone’s charity. In fact, my fundraising capabilities would barely break even on the ticket to Stockholm and price of long underwear, not to mention the plastering costs normally incurred after breaking one’s leg upon schussing into a steep ravine. I’d probably also get scared and pee myself.
However, when you’re Pippa Middleton, things are different.
When you’re Pippa Middleton and thrust into celebrity because your big sis married a national icon, people pay attention when you strap on a pair of skis. Or running shoes. Or hockey skates. I have to admit: I’m fascinated by the well-heeled It Girl who sweats because she’s a jock and not because she’s starred in a scandalous heavy-petting video.
Sure, Pippa might be a hobby athlete, one of hundreds of similar Weekend Warriors who flood your Facebook feed with their pilates and half-marathon goals for the day. And certainly, it takes a first-world share of luxury time, crazy wealth, and ironic sense of humor to rent a helicopter ride to the start line of a charity foot race (as Middleton and friends did last June for Scotland’s Highland Cross Challenge.) And surely, an objective crunching of numbers might prove that the money spent jetting to Nordic climes, purchasing ski equipment, and footing the bill for a fondue party (I don’t know that Pippa footed the bill for a fondue party, but she must have picked up the tab on a few hot cocoas) — that all this outlay of cash could do more good as a direct donation to the charity itself.
Of course, we all know that’s not the way celebrity works…when it does work.
For my part, I’m looking forward to discovering more underdog charities as Middleton pits her lean muscle against a public that can be either adoring or damning, depending on the wind. Enough romantic intrigues! Too much with the paternity accusations! Fie upon another report of designer smocks and matching handbags! Welcome instead the front page stories of strong, socialite beauties as they carb load, tape bunions, and puke Gatorade upon crossing the finish line.
I’m glad to send my tax deductible check from the comfort of my easy chair, eat some fondue, and feel like I’ve accomplished something.