St Albans’ Grove House fundraiser takes on Enduroman Double Ironman Challenge

PUBLISHED: 18:38 03 July 2011

Paul Parrish

Paul Parrish

Archant

PUSHING himself to the limit has taken on a whole new meaning for Paul Parrish, acting fundraising and marketing director for Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice Care, who has successfully completed his most crazy and arduous challenge to date.

Paul, who took part in the Enduroman Double Ironman Challenge, explained: “In a peak of boyish enthusiasm/stupidity I signed up to an ultra-triathlon consisting of a 4.8-mile swim (about 320 lengths of a swimming pool), a 230-mile bike ride and finishing with a 52-mile run (a double marathon).

“As I slipped into a lake in the New Forest early on Saturday morning, to begin one of the longest endurance events staged in this country, the boyish enthusiasm turned to naked terror.

“I now know that the first thing to suffer when you are tired is your sense of humour.

“Mine had lasted about two hours. I had a humourless 34 more hours ahead of me.

“Actually, the swim wasn’t too bad and it had the saving grace of being the only part of the course that was flat. As fate would decree it also wasn’t to be the wettest section of the race...”

Paul went on: “From the swim it was straight onto my bike for the start of a 230-mile cycle ride. Hard to train for that – the longest I’d cycled up to this point was 130 miles cycling up to my mum’s house (she does lovely cake).

“So I had a margin of the unknown of a 100 miles, and suddenly that seemed to me like poor preparation.

“However, it was whilst riding the bike that I knew I had the resolve to finish.

“Hundreds of supportive texts from my wonderful friends kept my phone buzzing as I scooted down the darkening lanes of Hampshire – and many touched my heart. I knew even if I had to crawl the final part I would do it.

“As I came to the end of the ride, the sky began to brighten, but approaching me was the beginning of a rain front that was to wipe out the entire Sunday – the day that I needed to run 52 miles.”

He added: “The rain never stopped, and neither did I and at 9.15pm I was told that I had one lap to go.

“That last lap was made doubly special as my 12-year-old daughter Lucy ran beside me. At 9.30pm, over 36 hours since I’d started I fell over the finish line holding Lucy’s hand.

“I wanted to make some emotional gesture, but I was too tired to even cry. I’d come a long, long way literally and metaphorically, but it was too much to take in.”

“Even now, it is too much to take in. I feel fine: good in fact but something has changed.

“I didn’t do this for me, I have done this for the patients of Iain Rennie Grove House Hospice Care. They would envy my privilege. They would love to be able to choose to make the start line.

“In the words of John Bingham (ex-hedonist and marathon runner) ‘The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start’.”

Paul has raised almost £5,000 for the hospice. If you would like to add to add your support to this extraordinary endeavour, visit http://www.justgiving.com/Paul-Parrish or give the hospice a call on 01727 731000.

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