A Clitheroe man has raised more than £4,000 for charity in memory of his mum.
Keen cyclist and marathon runner Nick Owen (43), of Henthorn Road, completed the Ironman 70.30 Staffordshire earlier this month which consists of a 1.2mile swim in Chasewater reservoir, a 56-mile bike course and a 13.1 mile run.
Nick’s mum Kathleen Owen lost her short battle with pancreatic cancer in November, just one week after her diagnosis and a few days before her 70th birthday.
Nick, who works at Vertigo Motors UK, said: “Mum’s was pancreatic cancer which spread to the liver and what she went through I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.”
Looking back to the training he did before the challenge, Nick said: “Before the race I was extremely nervous. I’d had a bad training session three weeks earlier which made me question if i could complete the challenge ahead. It had been a really hot day on the bike and my body just shut down on the run and I could go no further which is something I’d never experienced to this degree, and the race day itself was forecast to be red hot. I was really worried that this could happen again. Plus the 7am rolling start time was delayed because it was foggy and impossible to see markers in lake, which didn’t help. But mostly I was nervous and emotional because this time I was doing it for mum, and so many people had donated to my fundraising, I didn’t want to let anyone down.
“There wasn’t only myself from the Ribble Valley Triathlon Club but also Spike Taylor, Simon Moore, Suzanne Sumner, Daniel Hosker and Bob Wilkinson waiting for what lay ahead.”
Recalling the challenge itself Nick added: “I’d adjusted my target time to take account of the weather forecast, but finished the swim ahead of plan, feeling good. In the cycle leg, my rear water bottle fell off early on, and I made the conscious decision to go back for it because I didn’t want to become dehydrated later in the midday heat. That turned out to be a good decision. In the last 10 miles of the cycle leg the sun came out properly and by the time I was running, it was red hot.
“The race was going well and I kept hydrated and felt strong. Then in the final lap before the finish, two corners from the finish line, both my legs cramped up. Normally I’d have forced myself to carry on, exhausting every last ounce of energy to cross the finish line but as this was in memory of my mum and seeing me in this state was something she used to dread I knew I couldn’t let this happen again. It was typical that this happened right in front of friend Phil Sumner who had helped as many had from the Ribble Valley Triathlon Club throughout training and he was trying to persuade me to carry on. I was adamant that I had to run to the finish as I’d promised in good shape so took the time to stretch it out and forget about race times. The cramp eased, then crossed the finish line with my dad Tom, brother Steven, girlfriend Heather and friends waiting for me at the finish.
“Despite the nerves, the delays and the heat, I completed in five hours 34 minutes, smashing my target time of six hours and 15 minutes. The 1.2 mile swim split was 43 minutes, I averaged 19.4mph on the 56 mile bike leg, and finished the half marathon in one hour and 45 minutes which was very rewarding for the months and months of training that had gone into preparing for this challenge!
“I’ve also raised over £4k for Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund in the end, which is fantastic.
“I can honestly say that mum was never off my mind. I thought about her every stroke, every pedal and every step. As the line approached I looked up at the skies knowing I’d kept my side of the promise, I just hope mum was keeping hers and was looking down feeling extremely proud. Sweet dreams mum, you can rest now.”
Maggie Blanks, CEO of the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, said: “Pancreatic cancer has the worst survival rate of any major cancer but we are totally focused on changing this.
“The money Nick raises will go to fund cutting edge research into new treatments and ways to diagnose this disease earlier and we’re extremely grateful that Nick chose to fundraise for us and very happy to hear he kept his promise to Kathleen.”