Why we are undertaking a half-Ironman triathlon

Dr Natasha Gilchrist and Dr Dominique Wakefield explain why they will be swimming, cycling and running for almost eight hours in May this year.

Dr Wakefield (left) and Dr Gilchrist will be taking part in the half Ironman in May
Dr Wakefield (left) and Dr Gilchrist will be taking part in the half Ironman in May

Last summer, when the days were long and the sun was shining, we made a commitment to complete the Half Ironman triathlon in Mallorca in May 2016.

This involves a 1.9km sea swim, a 90km bike ride (including up a mountain) and finally finishes with a half marathon run. It must all be completed within an eight-hour cut off time. It seemed the perfect challenge, at the time.

The charities we're supporting

Why did we decide to do this? Primarily to raise money for two wonderful charities.

Dr Wakefield was working at St Michael’s Hospice in Hastings, East Sussex last year when it was burnt down by an arsonist. This has left the area without a hospice and staff have been stretched to care for people in alternative facilities.

We are raising money to help speed up the building work and to supply equipment that is required by patients while they have no base.

Our second charity is The Backup Trust. It is a small charity which provides help and care for people who have suffered with spinal cord injuries. The organisation supports people in getting back to work and returning to sport. Their help and care are invaluable and being a small charity, they are often over-looked when people are considering giving to charity.

A tough training schedule

We have been training very hard through the winter and you can follow our journey on our blog.

It turns out that an English winter is a really tough time to train. The short dark days, rain, cold, wind - not to mention the potholes - have made our training quite challenging.

We have put in hours at the pool and spent boring evenings on the static bikes. We have risked our lives on the roads churning up the miles at the weekends and running has had to be squeezed into any hours we have left in the day between work and family life.

Injuries and obstacles have cropped up throughout as well, but we are marching on and we are looking forward to the challenge.

We would like to thank our sponsors who have offered us help and support in reaching our goal. Float Press, a printing studio in Brede, East Sussex, has lent us winter training bikes, so that our nice bikes don’t get damaged during the winter. Locum agency Coben Medical has very kindly supplied our bike boxes for transporting our bikes to Mallorca.

This has been a wonderful help and has meant that every penny we raise goes directly to our charities to help the people who need it most. Our travel and entry fee is fully self-funded.

If you would like to support Dr Gilchrist and Dr Wakefield, you can sponsor them here: https://www.justgiving.com/teams/thesegirlscantri

  • Dr Gilchrist is a GP and Dr Wakefield is a palliative care doctor, who both work in East Sussex

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