Triathletes tackle five-hour challenge for heart unit

The swimming pool at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, in Alnwick.
The swimming pool at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre, in Alnwick.

Juniors at Alnwick’s triathlon club are to take part in a five-hour fund-raiser, inspired by a member who is awaiting open-heart surgery.

The Alnwick Tri Juniors are going to swim, bike and run as far as they can in five hours on Saturday, November 14, using the swimming pool, spin bikes and treadmills at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre.

One of the club’s members, who does not wish to be named, is receiving treatment at the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and is on the waiting list for open-heart surgery.

He is determined, resolute and unwavering – finishing every single race regardless of his medical complications.

Even when he is not well enough to train, he still goes along to help the coaches and is a truly valued member of the club.

The Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) is the charity establised to support the unit at the Freeman to carry on its life-saving work, which the tri-club will be supporting through this event.

There will be a competition to guess how far the club members cover in the five hours and it will cost £1 to enter.

The member in question was born with a rare heart condition, called Tetralogy of Fallot, and received life-saving surgery at the Freeman at only six months old.

He was also born with a rare congenital condition causing the bottom end of the oesophagus to be joined to the trachea (windpipe), which required major surgery the day after birth.

However, after being unable to do much sport for many years, when he was about 12, he decided to give triathlon ago.

Not one to take the easy route, when he began, he struggled to swim a length in the pool, but with the fantastic support of the club and coaches, he began taking part and completing triathlons last year.

Unfortunately, this summer, some serious issues with his heart reared their head.

The fund-raising challenge will take place from 3pm to 8pm on November 14 and people are encouraged to go and support the club’s efforts.

If you are unable to attend on the day, but would like to sponsor them or give a donation, contact Claire Stewart on clairejstewart40@gmail.com or 01665 581434.