Charity Community Local News

Triathletes appeal for support as they reach their final destination

Three amateur triathletes are preparing to take on the challenge of a lifetime by taking on The 666 Ironman Challenge in the Cotswold’s this May, pushing their physical and mental strengths to the limit, all in the name of charity.

Completing a single IRONMAN triathlon is an incredible achievement for any triathlete but for Rob Sutherland, Matthew Jenkins and Jonathan Lynch they will be attempting six Ironman distance triathlons over six consecutive days.

Each day will comprise of a gruelling 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike and finished off with a 26.2 mile marathon run, totalling 843.6 miles for the whole challenge !!

Facing the huge challenge of balancing training with work and family life, as well as COVID – 19 restrictions, the trio have remained focused and determined as at the heart of the challenge is raising money and awareness for The Abel Foundation Mitochondrial Support, a charity close to their hearts.

The Abel Foundation was created to aid sufferers of Mitochondrial Diseases and help support their families. Currently there is no cure. Money raised from this challenge will help build a community room for support groups to meet and share their knowledge. A spokesperson from the Able Foundation said “The Abel Foundation are really pleased that Rob, Jonathan & Matthew have chosen our charity for their 666 Ironman challenge. The money raised will go straight into finishing off our community support room which will enable us to run support groups for the families of Mitochondrial disease .

We will also be able to offer the space to others in the local community. We wish them well on this very challenging task. Please sponsor the team if you can as every penny makes a difference to us”​

The original plan for the epic challenge was to complete a triathlon in a different county for each of the six days. However, due to the challenges and safety concerns surrounding COVID – 19 the event has been moved to Lake 32 Outdoor Centre in the Cotswold’s for the first five days and will be completed in Andover at the charity HQ on the final day.

Rob told Andover Radio 95.5 fm Training for an Ironman event during a pandemic meant significant limitations on training together as well as restrictions on swimming facilities during the winter months. Despite these challenges, and injury setbacks, motivation to complete the challenge has remained strong and we are now counting down the days until the start.

When the idea of this crazy event came into my head last year after being inspired by Francis Benali’s Ironfran, there was only one charity I wanted to do it for. I’m sure Matthew, Jon and myself would all agree this has been the hardest 12 months getting ready for it but if we raise our target and inspire others to do something crazy for charity too then it has been worth it ”

Rob, Matthew and Jonathan would like to say a huge thanks to all their sponsors for their support and help, without who this challenge would not even be possible in the first place. HUUB Design, Garmin, CLIF Bar, dryrobe, 220 Triathlon Magazine, Challenging events and TRI UK and so many others which can be found on their social media pages have helped provided kit, nutrition, advice and promotion of the event.

The 666 Ironman Challenge begins on Sunday 23 May will reach the finish line on Friday 28 May 2021. For further information about the event visit their website and the team can also be followed on social media .

Rob added “By a twist of fate we are now starting our final marathon in Ludgershall, so we are appealing for as many people to join us or support us on the route back to Andover as possible” Route plans will be finalised this week.

The team will be happy to participate in any promotional activities and for any further information please contact Rob Sutherland on robsutherland88@hotmail.co.uk or call 07703394887

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