This July, delivery manager Alan Leitch took measures way beyond his comfort zone as he completed the strenuous UK Ironman in Bolton. Alan was determined to test himself and overcome some daunting challenges in memory of his true inspiration, Jane Tomlinson, whilst raising funds for the Appeal.
The effects of cancer are no stranger to Alan and his family, his mother and father sadly both being taken at the young age of 61, just 15 months apart. His younger sister was also diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 but fortunately became a survivor, strengthening Alan's wishes to help raise money for cancer charities and the causes supported by the Appeal.
Jane's legacy always inspired Alan, admiring her bravery and drive in completing all the athletic events she did during her fight against cancer, including the renowned Ironman Triathlon, which lead Alan to want to complete the same challenge.
Alan credits the strong support he has received from his family and friends for helping him complete such a physically demanding challenge especially his daughter who first encouraged him to overcome the impossible with her uplifting words:
"Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone."
So three years ago, on New Year's Eve 2013, his daughter's thoughts were left imprinted on Alan's mind, Alan says of this moment;
"These words made me think about undertaking what will be the biggest challenge of my life."
And it is with this inspiration that Alan decided to take on the gruelling 2.4 mile open water swim, 112 mile cycle ride and 26.2 mile marathon of the Ironman UK, before he turned 50 in December 2016. facing tough training 5 days a week, and even a half triathlon before the monster event.
On 17th July 2016 with great pride and determination, Alan smashed what he thought was impossible, becoming an Ironman in 15 hours and 4 minutes.
However, it wasn't just the huge sense of personal achievement that Alan gained from facing his fears, but increased inspiration after he heard the story a double leg amputee who was told that he could never face the testing Ironman challenge, but just 12 months later he had proved his doubters wrong, achieved the "impossible", and completed the Ironman, this Alan said, left him "in tears of admiration." Reminding him, as Janes legacy did that anything is possible when you put your mind to it, no matter what the obstacles may be.
"I want to do another one - but quicker!" Alan posted to his supporters on his Just Giving page, hoping to go bigger and better in his next athletic endeavour. His gratitude is clear as he acknowledges that his wonderful achievements would not have been possible without the backing and generosity towards himself and the Appeal from his supporters.
Alan has raised a fantastic £1,060 and he isn't done yet as in October he will be part of the Appeal Team for The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon, pulling on his Appeal top once again to show his support for childrens and cancer charities. And he is encouraging everyone else to follow in his footsteps saying;
"Go on, do something beyond your comfort zone, it's an amazing journey."
We couldn't agree more! Well done Alan and thank you for being part of the Appeal Team!