St Albans father runs IRON MAN UK in aid of teacher’s son
PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 July 2015 | UPDATED: 12:13 16 July 2015
A father moved by the story of a teacher’s son will be cycling, swimming and running more than 140 miles to support him.
Chris Leigh, 52, of The Uplands, Harpenden will be taking part in the Bolton Iron Man UK this Sunday (19) in aid of Jonty’s Journey, a fund set up by teacher at St Albans School, Gareth Burger, to help with therapy for his son Jonty.
Jonty has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy caused by his traumatic birth, and the money raised goes towards specialist therapy and equipment.
Chris, whose son is taught by Gareth, was inspired to tackle the challenge when he heard about Jonty’s incredible zest for life.
He said: “I am not your typical tri-athlete, weighing in at 20 stone when I first started training.
“It’s quite a challenge for me but it’s a bigger challenge for Jonty. The motto of Iron Man is that anything is possible, and I think that’s quite apt for this, because anything is possible.”
He began training six months ago and has since lost three stone, with a regimented exercise programme peaking at 15 hours a week.
In June he competed alongside the likes of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey in the half Iron Man UK in preparation.
He will be starting the full Iron Man UK at 6am on Sunday and hopes to finish 15 hours later at 9pm.
Chris said: “I’m excited about it but I’m a little nervous. There’s a 17 hour cut-off point to be able to collect your medal!”
He is hoping to raise £2000 for Jonty’s Journey and is currently just over half way to his target.
Four-year-old Jonty’s traumatic birth left doctors sure that he wouldn’t live after not breathing for the first five minutes of his life.
But he beat the odds and wakes up every day ready to enjoy life.
Gareth said: “He’s an incredibly friendly happy young man who doesn’t let his disability dampen his spirit. He lives life to the full. He absolutely loves people.
“We are delighted that Chris has chosen to raise funds for Jonty as part of his Iron Man challenge.
“Jonty continues to face massive challenges on a daily basis and the kindness and generosity of people such as Chris provides him with the best chance of overcome these. We wish Chris all the best for what I am sure will be a very tough event.”
If you would like to sponsor Chris, click here.