Posts Tagged ‘Tenby’

Ironman Triathlon

Sebastian Escola-Fasseur of France lies on the ground after finishing the Ironman Wales triathlon on September 8, 2013 in Tenby, Wales. Photographer: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

World Triathlon Corp. will stage its first half-Ironman distance race in New Jersey next September, two years after canceling the New York City Ironman after one edition because of logistical problems.

The 70.3-mile (113-kilometer) race — the first Ironman-branded triathlon held entirely in the U.S.’s most densely populated state — will be held at Mercer County Park in West Windsor, New Jersey, on Sept. 21, according to World Triathlon Corp., the owner of Ironman. (more…)

WHAT A DIVE: Alessandro De Rose performs at Abereiddy. PICTURE: Red Bull.
WHAT A DIVE: Alessandro De Rose performs at Abereiddy. PICTURE: Red Bull.

TWO weekends that captivated a county.

That best describes the stunning sporting success of the past fortnight in Pembrokeshire, which saw Tenby host the IronMan Wales and the Blue Lagoon, Abereiddy, accommodate the latest round of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World series. (more…)

Gareth Scotcher takes on challenge of his life 10 years after brutal terminal illness diagnosis

Gareth Scotcher and Nicky Rees prepare for the Long Course weekend in Tenby
Gareth Scotcher and Nicky Rees prepare for the Long Course weekend in Tenby

More than 3,500 people will take part in a long-distance triathlon in West Wales next weekend, but only one of them will do it in a wheelchair.

When Gareth Scotcher was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2003, he was told he would only have five years left to live, but 10 years later, he is taking on the challenge of his life.

The 43-year-old from Tenby said: “I can’t be doing with the negativity that seems to surround terminal illness. I didn’t choose to have it, but you just get on with it and make the best of the cards life deals you.”

Although Gareth explains he can’t walk, talk, wash, dress or feed himself anymore, he can still breathe and swallow independently and has mobility in his legs.

Pairing up with lifelong friend Nicky Rees, Gareth is aiming to complete the Long Course Weekend in Tenby, which involves a 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile marathon.

During the swimming event, Nicky will tow Gareth in an inflatable canoe and, during the run, he will push him in a lightweight buggy, which has been loaned by manufacturer Delichon.

But when he agreed to take part, Gareth was adamant he did not want to be “a passenger” and during the cycling stage, he will do half of the pedalling on a specially adapted Quest88 racing tandem.

Nicky and Gareth met at Greenhill Comprehensive School 30 years ago when they used to play rugby and football together after class. As a teenager, Gareth was a keen sportsman and represented Pembrokeshire in swimming, as well as working as a lifeguard during the school holidays.

He first noticed symptoms of MND at the age of 30, when he observed a slight weakening in his right thumb. Assuming he had sprained the joint playing rugby, he carried on as normal.

It was more than a year later, following several MRI scans, lumbar punctures and nerve conductivity tests, that Gareth was finally diagnosed with MND on September 15, 2003 – exactly two weeks after the birth of his daughter Daisy.

The father of two, who was working as deputy operations manager at Oakwood Theme Park at the time, said: “My life didn’t change too much after diagnosis, but of course there were lots of tears shed and lots of worrying about the future.

“I am fairly lucky because my symptoms have progressed slowly, but of course lucky is a relative term. I may have a weak body, but my mind is still strong and I am still the same man I always was.”

Gareth, who is father to 12-year-old Dylan and nine-year-old Daisy, added: “I consider myself lucky to have two absolutely fantastic, happy, healthy children who keep me strong and are reason enough to keep fighting.

Nicky, a 45-year-old plumber from Tenby, said: “Gareth is a very positive character and his glass is always half full.”

It was Nicky who suggested entering the Long Course Weekend, after watching a video of a father and his disabled son taking part in an Ironman triathlon in America.

Nicky, who has completed eight long-distance and extreme triathlons, said: “Gareth jumped at the chance to take part and his motivation went off the scale. He got straight on his exercise bike, because he was determined he did not just want to be pushed and pulled.”

That was six months ago and since then, Gareth has been cycling 60 miles a week on his Medimotion exercise bike.

He said: “It’s good for me to have a target, something to train for, and to draw people’s attention to my disease. I hope to raise some money for good causes, but maybe most of all, to prove to people that no matter what your disability, with a bit of help and a lot of hard work, you can still achieve anything.”

A total of 3,500 competitors are expected to take part in the event in Tenby, cheered on by 15,000 spectators.

Gareth and Nicky will start their challenge on July 12, completing a different discipline on each day of the three-day event. All the money raised will be split between the MND Association and Gareth’s trust fund.

Race director Matthew Evans said: “The Long Course Weekend is all about giving people a platform to do incredible things and what Gareth and Nicky are doing is truly inspirational. We are proud to be part of it.”