With those long cold winter nights drawing in, the struggle to leave the sofa for the gym becomes harder and harder. For one of our supporters leaving the house to exercise has become an essential part of the daily routine.
Meet Dan. Dan created his own incredible challenge event, named the Triathlong, to fundraise for Children on the Edge. By no means has Dan set himself an easy task!
The Triathlong involves swimming 23 miles, running 870 miles and riding 2270 miles all by the end of 2015. To put that into perspective, it’s the same distance as swimming across the channel, running from John O’ Groats to Lands End and riding the Tour de France!
For the past year, Dan has been running, swimming or cycling every day come rain or shine to complete this challenge. With less than a couple of months to go, we found out how it has been for Dan completing the Triathlong and a little more about the idea behind it.
What inspired you to do your own challenge event?
In 2012, my daughter Grace was diagnosed with ependymoma brain tumour. She underwent brain surgery and follow-up Proton Therapy in America. A year later the tumour re-appeared and was surgically removed again. This time she had full head and spine radiotherapy.
She was so brave and happy throughout this scary and long process. She's had over 60 radiotherapy sessions strapped to a bed & had more than 20 MRI scans to date. She lost her hair but rarely lost her smile.
She is now tumour free and has no symptoms or side-effects. It's miraculous. Even her hair has grown back. Grace inspired me with her perseverance. I wanted to do something to show us all that even though bad things do happen, greater good can come through them.
During Grace’s therapy, I started to think a lot about how we can make changes in what we eat and how we live that can greatly affect our health. I wanted to show that getting better wasn’t just something to do with special medical treatment, but something we can all take control of and start working at.
What was the process of creating the Triathlong?
Firstly, I attempted a challenge to run every day of 2014 - which failed after 62 days.
That was the genesis of this idea. A challenge over the whole year. I wanted to do a triathlon so I was fixed on those 3 activities.
I wanted to find distances that were challenging but vaguely achievable. I worked on finding distances that had a ‘real world’ reference: Swim the channel, in the length of the UK and cycle the length of the Tour de France!
What inspired you to fundraise for Children on the Edge?
I wanted to help children who are struggling and at risk in places all over the world. Children who don’t have all the attention and care that my daughter had received. I also have close connections with Children on the Edge through my church, friendship with the legendary Ben ‘Barefoot’ Wilkes and now my sister Eloise works there too!
What do you think all children should have the right to?
The right to food, shelter, education, friendship and somewhere safe to play and have fun. Also knowing that someone recognises their priceless value.
What will you be doing to fundraise?
I will be using social media to let people know how I am getting on through the final two months, combined with an e-mail newsletter. I also shared my challenge story when I did Chichester Triathlon this summer & more recently the Children on the Edge Chi-Half.
What distances have you run already and how much do you have left to complete?
As of the 12th November I have swam 13 miles, cycled 1958 miles and run 713 miles. There are 49 days left with 12 miles to swim, 312 miles to Cycle, and 157 miles to run… I am planning to finish the whole thing with a final ‘triathlon’ on New Years Eve (or whenever the pool is open!).
Finally, whats a typical week like with all your triathlong activities?
There is no typical week! It’s crazy trying to fit it all in sometimes. I just try and get it done early in the day if possible. Sometimes I end up running in the dark at 10pm! Its pretty stressful especially when you are ill or the weather is really horrible.
As the daylight hours shrink and the weather gets worse - I just grab the opportunities wherever I can, cycling to work or running twice a day. It makes you do some crazy things!
We wish Dan the best of luck with the rest of his Triathlong and can’t thank him enough for completing this amazing challenge. If you would like to support Dan, you can donate to his fundraising page.
Watch this space for Dan’s final Triathlong update!