On 15th July 2018 I will be taking part in Ironman Bolton in memory of my close friend Claire Greaves. I am taking on this challenge alongside my friend Dave in order to raise money for two fantastic charities that were very important to Claire: Beat and Mind. Both charities supported Claire as an individual, but also in getting her voice heard to raise awareness of mental ill health and anorexia.
Claire sadly lost her life on 27th February 2018, aged 25. Claire had been very unwell and spent long periods in hospital, but despite this we shared many fun times together and I will treasure those memories forever. Claire’s smile and enthusiasm was infectious and she was so determined. Her strength and determination shone through in her campaigning. Claire did not want anyone else to go through the experiences she had been through. She campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness through blogs, social media and television appearances to try and end the stigma surrounding mental health issues and to improve care for those who are unwell.
In February 2015, Claire and I climbed Pen y Fan during Sock It to Eating Disorders week to raise money for Beat. We had a great time and the event raised a lot of money and promoted awareness of eating disorders through the local media. Claire was so excited when the photo from our climb was used on the cover of the Sock It to Eating Disorders pack the following year!
The Ironman Triathlon is an incredibly tough event. It involves swimming 2.4 miles in open water and then cycling 112 miles before running a full marathon, all in one day. Claire faced many tough times in her life and tackled them with great courage, so it seemed fitting to honour her and raise money by undertaking my biggest physical and mental challenge to date.
Training for the Ironman challenge hasn’t been easy. Before I signed up, I had never swum in open water before, taken part in a triathlon or ridden a road bike. It has been an emotional journey with lots of ups and downs. I know that on the day it will be incredibly difficult, but I will remember Claire’s strength and courage and do my very best to do her proud.
The link to our fundraising page is: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/Ironman2018
If you’d like to take part in a fundraising event for Beat, you can find out more about what we offer here.