In late 2012, and after too many drinks at a friends Christmas party, I agreed to take part in my first “Penguathlon”. This was to involve cycling from Leeds to Newcastle (106 miles), run the Great North Run the following day (13.1 miles) and then cycle back to Ilkley (100 miles) the next day. Oh, and all dressed as a penguin!
Having spent the last few years doing various running events and latterly sprint Triathlons, I embarked on getting myself fit for the event. I also had to get to grips with bike cleats / shoes, which comically led to a couple of falls (for any cyclists reading this you will know what I mean!) and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales most weekends.
By early September, I was ready for the event and on the 14th September 16 penguins departed for Newcastle. The ride went very well with the weather kind to us and we arrived early evening at our accommodation in Gosforth. An early start was required on the Sunday morning as ahead of the Great North Run media duties (!) were required by the team. There was an interview with Radio 5live, being filmed by the BBC whilst cycling over the Tyne bridge and then following a quick change into our penguin suits, an interview with Colin Jackson for BBC1. By the time we got to the start line we were all more than ready for the race and we went on to receive fantastic support from the local public who turned out in force despite the very poor weather conditions.
Early Monday morning we set off on the journey home and despite encountering rain and 20mph winds most of the way, we arrived in Ilkley just before dark to family / friends at one of the local bars to enjoy some well earned beers!
To date I have personally raised over £1,700 and a huge thanks is owed to all my family, friends, TL Dallas & Co Ltd (who were one of the corporate sponsors) and colleagues, together with clients who have provided great support. In total, Team Penguin have collected over £23,000 for a local charity, Yorkshire Cancer Research.