The Bannatyne Health Club in Ingleby Barwick is supporting a member in his unique fundraising efforts.
Paul Connaughton is taking part in a one of a kind half Iron Man-style triathlon, with his son James, who has hypertonic cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, alongside him every step of the way.
Paul will swim 1.2 miles in the Bannatyne health club’s pool with James in tow in a dinghy, cycle 56 miles with James in a specialist trailer and run a 13.1 mile half marathon around Ingleby Barwick, whilst pushing James in a special sports wheelchair, donated by local fitness group, Fat Lads on Bikes.
The pair are being supported in their fundraising efforts by 17 year old Ryan Morris and his 14 year old brotherCallum Morris.
Paul is undertaking the JPC Community Farm Iron Man Challenge in order to raise awareness around the JP (James Paul) Connaughton Community Farm, which he and wife Julie are aiming to have up and running within 18 months.
The Farm will have eight supported living apartments and four rooms for short respite breaks. Paul hopes that eventually the site will offer a range of activities for its users, including ‘riding for the disabled’ lessons, an adapted and accessible outdoor play area, petting farm, specially-adapted soft play, trampoline park, rebound therapy area, as well as extensive indoor facilities. All of the activities will provide physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy opportunities.
In addition, there will also be a chance for parents and carers to receive stress management and counselling services from qualified practitioners, which will place an emphasis on using the Families United Now (FUN) framework.
Tom Carter, General Manager at Bannatyne Health Club in Ingleby Barwick, said: “When Paul told me why he was training so hard, I knew the club had to get involved in some way. Staff and members are going to be doing the challenge in the club at the same time as James and Paul are running and cycling through the streets of Ingleby Barwick, and some will even be doing the challenge alongside them.”
Paul Connaughton said: “It’s fantastic to have the support of everyone at Bannatyne Ingleby Barwick. I want as many people as possible to engage with the challenge; to come and join me and James. It would be a fantastic legacy for JPC Community Farm Iron Man Challenge to become an annual event to raise money for the Farm and for the many other projects they are working on.
“I’ve had some fantastic support from the people of Tees Valley and further beyond. Fat Lads on Bikes have provided us with a special sports wheelchair to help running with James and Under Armour has provided us with some fantastic kit to train in. We’re gaining real traction and the support is snowballing. I can’t wait to see where we are in a year’s time.
“Callum is in the elite rugby training programme for Newcastle Falcons and is helping with the road running training and Ryan, who has Autism, has inspired me to keep going. He’s often out of his comfort zone when training with me so the least I can do is carry on running!
“I’ll be training in the club and around Ingleby Barwick in my JPC tee shirt so if you see me running along the road give me a beep, if you see me in the club get on the machine next to me and spur me on. I’m always happy to chat to anyone about how they can get involved.”
Tom added: “Paul’s ambition is truly inspirational. I’ve yet to meet a man so determined during training. We’ll be making sure he keeps it up to the time of the challenge and beyond.”