Wife surprised by IRON MAN birthday request!
16 July 2012
Wigan man Paul Clarke took a slightly unusual response when his wife Barbara asked what he wanted for his 50th birthday. She was a little surprised when he said “Enter me in the UK Ironman competition!”
As an ex-Army and Falklands veteran, Paul is clearly not a man to sit around. He says "I keep fit by running, cycling and some swimming, but I have never done all three in an Ironman competition. So why not?"
Paul added, "It sounded like a good idea at the time. I have always spent a lot of time 'on the road' training, so I thought that if Barbara bought it as a present, she might not complain. I don't know whether I will finish, but I will certainly try very hard because I am doing it to raise money for Wigan & Leigh Hospice. I have never done a marathon and I've injured my foot running. I know I will be taking part with a damaged foot, and that it will probably get worse with every step.
Two months ago Barbara's mum died at the Hospice and we were blown away by the care, compassion and support. Whatever pain I go through will be worth it to support this fabulous organisation. Right from first entering the hospice reception to every part of the organisation, they are great and well-worthy of support."
Paul has a 'Turbo-Trainer' in his garage and rides his bike for upto 7 ½ hrs at a time.
He says, "In the Army, the necessary mental discipline was instilled in me, along with the importance of hard work and determination."
The largest and most prestigious Ironman UK competition begins at Pennington Flash in Leigh on 22nd July and travels a large part of theNorth West! The field of 1500 international entrants is the biggest in the UK. They will swim 2.4 miles, cycle a mere 112 miles and then finish with a 26 mile marathon.
If you see someone swimming in Pennington Flash, it could well be Paul in training. Give him a shout of encouragement.
Paul concludes "After the event my prize will be a short break in the Lake district- but not swimming, running or bike-riding!"
Good Luck Paul from everybody here at the Hospice.