You’ve heard of a triathlon. They’re not easy; cycling as soon as you’re out the pool, running as soon as you’re off the bike. Now imagine the pool is actually a 2.4 mile open water swim, the cycle is a 112 mile ride and the run is a full marathon. Welcome to Ironman UK – the challenge that Steven Waterhouse is undertaking for NSPCC and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Becoming an Ironman
Steven told us “I decided a couple of years ago, shortly after the birth of my son, that I was eating, drinking and smoking far too much. I wanted to live as long as possible to see him grow up. My lifestyle needed a drastic change.”
After buying a bike, it took him a few weeks to get to 10 miles, he says “I remember that milestone like it was yesterday“, before the distance began to increase and he began cycling with some local clubs and groups. After one year, he signed up to cycle from Morecambe to Bridlington – approximately 160 miles – over 3 days.
On that trip, he met Vicki Gale who told him she was training for Ironman. Once she explained what the event entailed, Steven says he thought – and still does – that she was mad, “it just wasn’t possible“. A few months later, she had proven it wasn’t impossible, so Steven bought some swimming goggles and took to the water. After 10 lengths Steven says he was “almost drowning” but again, stuck it out.
Next came the running – Steven bought some “proper” trainers and began the NHS Couch to 5 k programme. After another tough start, Steven had completed the 9 weeks and cracked the 5km mark.
After signing up for – and completing – several events, and making it through a torn foot muscle, Steven did what he said he’d never do and signed up for Ironman.
Why these charities?
Steven is undertaking this “impossible” challenge for two charities. The first is Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Steven tells us that the charity helped his Godson Joshua who was diagnosed with TYPE 1 diabetes aged 11. He adds “Diabetes has also affected a few of my family members including my late Grandfather. Type 1 diabetes affects thousands of children around the UK it is NOT brought on by lifestyle, diet or being lazy, as many people think. It is an auto-immune disease where the pancreas does not produce insulin.” JDRF work to make children living with type 1 diabetes more manageable as well as researching into treatments and cures.
When it comes to the second charity, NSPCC, Steven’s reasons are also personal. He struggled to put these into words, but says that simply put “I once needed the help of the NSPCC, they helped sort me out during a hard period in my teenage years. I owe them big time. I have never raised money for them so this is my thankyou to them. Hopefully the money raised will help them help another kid like they helped me.”
How you can help
Steven will continue his arduous training this year in order to complete the Ironmak UK challenge in July. You can support him by donating to his page, and therefore supporting his two chosen charities.