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Barney Nicholls avatar
Barney Nicholls

Barney and Seth's Ironman UK 2013

doing an Ironman with Seth for The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Clinical Oncology And Cancer Care Appeal because we want to help

raised by 66 supporters
  • Team members: Barney Nicholls, Seth Toms
  • Event: Rotary Charity Fundraisers Ironman UK, 04 Aug 2013

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Clinical Oncology And Cancer Care Appeal

The Sunrise Appeal raises funds for the clinical oncology unit at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, Cornwall

Charity Registration No. 1084193


Couch Potato to Mamil to Ironman

I was a couch potato and was heading onwards happily through life. Two of things I was heading towards were seventeen stone and my fortieth birthday. Now I didn't mind being overweight and I didn't mind being forty but I started thinking that maybe I'd prefer to not be both. I have two very good reasons for thinking that I ought to do something about it, my twin girls, Grace and Ella. After all I want to be around to see them grow up and take their place in the world.

 Now I like my food and drink and didn't really fancy cutting back too much so I thought I would try going for a run. So I set out to run like a gazelle from my house in Portscatho to the coastguard hut at Pednvadan. I could barely manage an amble, and if there was a competition for sweating I think I would have won it sweaty hands down. It took me the best part of a week to be able to walk again my muscles hurt so much. However I stuck at it and became a Mamil (Middle Aged Main In Lycra) not the prettiest of sights admittedly, but lycra is very practicable when exercising.

 One day I was walking past Richard Sharp's house and saw a sign he'd put out for a ten kilometre 'fun' run over at Trelissick. Not too far away and with a bit of work, I thought, I could maybe complete it. As it was I thoroughly enjoyed it and from then on I think I'd started down the slippery slope.

 Then the next stage started. I just happened to be in a local establishment that has on its wall a satellite photograph of the Roseland peninsula and surrounding area and I was looking at it and started thinking to myself that wouldn't it be a great place to do this thing I’d been hearing about called a triathlon. So after partaking in a few more and deciding that I was probably mad went about asking for peoples help to organise what was to become the first Roseland Triathlon.

 A triathlon consists of three events a swim, a cycle, and a run each done one after the other. There are several versions each having different length sections, I thought it best to do what is called a sprint triathlon. The distances for this event were to be 750m (0.46 miles) for the swim, 20km (12.4 miles) for cycle and 7km (4.34 miles) for the run.

 I knew I could do the run and in the past had ridden a mountain bike a fair bit but I'd never really swam any distance before. So off I went to Truro swimming pool. The Truro pool is 25m long, so to swim the distance I would need to be able to do thirty lengths. I managed ten in the space of about half an hour, I hung on to the side trying not to drown thinking I might have some work ahead of me. So after a few months of training and managing to wangle a road bike through the cycle to work scheme I took part in my first Triathlon, the Roseland Triathlon in 2010. I managed to complete it in a little over two hours and was over the moon, I could not believe I had been able to do the whole thing myself.

 Now last year I managed to talk my cousin Seth into joining me in going to the next distance up in Triathlon, the Standard (Olympic) distance. This involves a 1500m (0.93 miles) swim a 40km (24.85 miles) cycle and a 10km (6.21 miles) run. This doubling the distance I have to admit I found very hard especially the run where I think I was overtaken by just about everyone in the event. I'm sure some of them were coming round just so they could run past me again.

 Either way I enjoyed it for some strange reason and I started looking ahead, now the next year (2013) I was going to be forty five and I had been mulling it over in my mind for some time and thought I might give myself a little bit of a challenge, an Ironman. An Ironman event is pretty much about as big as it gets. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim a 112 mile bike ride and finishes off with a full 26.2 mile marathon. You start at 6.00am in the morning and have till 11.00pm that night to complete it, and yes you are right it is mad and I think I am too.

 I remember hovering my mouse over the enter button on the website thinking that I must be a complete idiot and still clicking the button. Now I'm not the only idiot in town, as with shall we say quite a bit of cajoling, Seth finally came round to the idea of it as well and we are both heading off to Bolton on the 4th of August to take part in what will be the biggest challenge we hope to ever face.

 I have been very lucky and want to thank my wife Anne for giving me the time needed to train over the last few months and not complaining, well not too much, about it.

 Whilst Seth and I are taking part in this, Jon Lyons, who was one of the best men at my wedding, is going through something that is even more physically demanding and painful. He however is not doing this by choice. Earlier this year Jon had what he thought was a sore throat, this sore throat however wouldn't shift. After a visit to his doctor it was very quickly diagnosed as a malignant throat cancer. As I write this he has just finished his main course of chemotherapy and is just starting seven weeks of daily radiotherapy. His strength and the way he is handling this has amazed me and many others, he appears to have responded well to the chemo and we're all hoping that the radiotherapy isn't going to be too hard. His wife Becky and his lovely daughters, Millie and Purdy are being incredible in keeping Jon going and the hospital has been great in looking after them all.

 So what I would like you to do is to help me to help him and the others who will go through this in the future. I have setup a web page where you can sponsor Seth and I to do the Ironman or just donate something towards helping with future care at Treliske.

 So on August the 4th think not only of Seth and I swimming, cycling and running around for many hours but also of Jon and what he'll be facing, and even better why not make a small donation.