Fundraiser James Perry smashed his way through a 1.9km swim, an 89.6km cycle ride and a 21.3km run by focusing on the memory of his beloved uncle.
The 30-year-old raised more than £6,000 by thinking to himself “what would Des do?” throughout his Ironman challenge, raising vital funds for ellenor.
James’s uncle Des, a keen cyclist who suffered from Motor Neurone Disease (MND), died in June 2020 at the age of 62. He received care from ellenor during his illness, and the charity continues to support his widow Louise Keehan, who is James’s aunt.
The Ironman 70.3 Marbella, a challenging long-distance triathlon, was held in Southern Spain in September -- and James completed the cycling section on his late uncle’s very high spec road bike.
James said: “As I was mentally preparing myself before the swim, I kept asking myself “what would Des do (WWDD) if he were here?”. I landed on three things. Firstly, Des would have a smile on his face, secondly, he wouldn't be flustered by the challenge -- his laid-back attitude would have kept him calm and relaxed -- and thirdly he would finish it!
“Those three things stuck with me throughout the event, and I hope I was able to stay true to my WWDD mantras. I tried to smile, tried to stay calm and, no matter the state I was in, I was determined to finish it. It kept me focussed despite the pain.”
The 30-year-old, who is based in London and works for a financial technology company, said: “It was a half distance Ironman and about one or two hours into it I was thinking I could easily do a full Ironman, but by the end of it I had decided absolutely not! One day I will do it though.
“The swimming part was delightful, and the sea was lovely. The sun was just rising, and it was stunning, but the cycle was quite challenging. It was getting hot by the end of it and by the time the run started it was 29 degrees and the hottest part of the day.
“I hadn’t had much of a chance to train in that sort of heat at home because our summer wasn’t very hot here. I was drained by the end of it.