ULTRA athletic butchery manager Stuart Parker has completed two Ironman challenges on consecutive weekends, boosting his fundraising for Help for Heroes to more than £7,000 in the process.
Stuart, who works at Lincolnshire Co-operative’s Market Rasen foodstore, started his challenge at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham with a gruelling 2.4 mile swim down the rowing lake.
This was followed by a three-loop circuit on his bike, totalling 112 miles, before he ran around the lake four times and then headed into Nottingham to complete a 26.2-mile marathon.
More than 600 competitors turned out for the event which Stuart completed in 12 hours 43 minutes – a personal best.
Even more impressive is that Stuart did it all again the following weekend and even came back to work in-between.
The second Ironman took him to Bolton where he joined 1,300 other competitors to complete the same gruelling tasks, this time centred on the Pennington Flash lake.
Stuart produced his fastest ever swim, picking up a time of just 1 hour 11 minutes for the 2.4-mile stretch.
An unlucky puncture slowed him down a little during the cycling but he still finished the entire race in just 13 hours 19 minutes.
Stuart said: “It was good – I got a personal best on the first one.
“I had the Monday off and then I was back in work. It was about three days before the aches died down, but I didn’t ache after the second one at all.
“I had excellent support, everyone got really behind it.
“Seeing some of the soldiers out there doing the challenge and coming out of the water on crutches or carrying each other really brought home what we are raising the money for.
“It was humbling and makes it all worthwhile.”
He had originally planned to do the Double Ironman challenge at Lichfield, but was disappointed when it was cancelled, so he set about finding two consecutive events instead.
The Bolton event was also supporting Help for Heroes so they gave Stuart a special place even though they were fully booked.
Team True Spirit, a group of injured soldiers from Help for Heroes’ Headley Court Rehabilitation Centre, took part in the event despite some of them having amputated limbs.