Ironman Ross raises £4,000 for charities
THE mere thought of swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 and running a full marathon, all in one day, would be enough to make even the fittest young man or woman wince.
But Portadown man Ross McDonagh, at 54-years-old, is made of stern stuff and the accountant-turned-furniture designer-turned-Ironman, took to the Italian island of Elba last September to take on exactly such a daunting challenge.
By completing the Elbaman Challenge in 15 and a half hours, Ross raised more than £4,000 for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and Motor Neurone Disease Association Northern Ireland.
A long-time triathlete, Ross wanted to up to the ante and undertook seven months of gruelling training ahead of the biggest challenge of his life.
“I have been a member of the triathlon club in Portadown, but I have always wanted to do an Ironman and I wanted to do it somewhere completely different,” said Ross.
“Elba, which is off the coast of Tuscany, is the only Ironman location in Italy and I signed up for it a year and a half before the challenge itself. I wanted to raise money for good causes in the process.”
The training was punishing, but without it, Ross admits he wouldn’t have stood a chance. Ross finished 142nd out of 200 entrants, the vast majority of whom were young than him.
“It’s a great challenge and if you have not done the training then you will not get through it,” he continued. “I trained for seven months and I got up to 16 hours’ training before tailing off for a month before the event itself. It was the toughest thing I have ever done, no question. The key is getting the training done. It’s the same as training for the marathon, if I hadn’t trained properly I would have stopped somewhere or fallen over.”
Most importantly, Ross helped two very important causes.
He added, “My mum died of cancer when I was 13 and a work colleague of my wife passed away from Motor Neurone Disease, so they were two causes that were very close to my heart,” he added.
Why not take up your own challenge and enter the Deep RiverRock Belfast City Marathon, relay, fun run or walk on May 6, and raise money for Cancer Focus, the official marathon charity. Register at www.belfastcitymarathon.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
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