Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why This Iron Man Keeps on Moving; to Finish One Iron Man Triathlon Is a Huge Achievement, Yet Reporter ANTONIA PAGET Speaks to a North East Man Who Is Aiming to Get into the Guinness World Records by Completing Seven in Just One Week

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Why This Iron Man Keeps on Moving; to Finish One Iron Man Triathlon Is a Huge Achievement, Yet Reporter ANTONIA PAGET Speaks to a North East Man Who Is Aiming to Get into the Guinness World Records by Completing Seven in Just One Week

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTONIA PAGET

decade ago, Jason Roberts was lying on his back in agony.

AHe had damaged two discs in his spine, and the operation that followed left him bedridden for four weeks.

Now, he is taking on a challenge that would leave most people on their backs - seven Iron Men in just seven days.

Jason will be the first person ever to do seven consecutive triathlons from Lands end to John O'Groats - a mammoth 980 mile challenge he hopes will get him a place in the Guinness World Records.

The date is set. From august 17 next year, Jason will have to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles, and run a marathon - 26.2 miles - every day.

Jason, business development manager for countrywide, said: "I'd missed entering an Iron Man for a couple of years, because of one reason or another.

"I also had this long ambition to do Lands end to John O'Groats, but I didn't want to do the bike ride because everybody does it. I wanted to do something different.

"In the end, it kind of clicked. I got the distance for an Iron Man in my head, and I got a map out and discovered that it was 980 odd miles from Lands end to John O'Groats. Broken down, that's exactly seven Iron Man distances.

"It was a happy accident that the two came together." But while seven Iron Men in seven days might seem like the test of a lifetime, it is Jason's journey leading up to his challenge that is the real success story.

The 39-year-old from Tynemouth first suffered back problems from the age of 14.

When they returned after his double decompression discectomy operation in 2004 - the removal of two disks between his vertebrae - he took his recovery into his own hands.

He said: "I was told by doctors that I would either need another back operation or to take tablets for the rest of my life to keep the pain at bay. But neither appealed, so I decided to fix the problem myself.

"at first, I used to go and do very small exercises. I would go to the gym and just lie on an exercise mat and roll backwards Turn to Page 24 and forwards. I went against the advice of the consultant who didn't think it was a good idea. But I went and saw a physio in North Tyneside who said: 'Do whatever you want, but if it hurts then stop, recover and try again'."

Jason said that although this was obvious advice, it was not something he had heard before, so it spurred him on.

"I started building up into bigger things and then I decided that I wanted to do a triathlon," he explained. "I went from starting at the gym to being triathlon ready in about three and a half months.

"I remember crossing the finish line of the Ashington Sprint Triathlon in 2010 feeling like I had won a gold medal. The sense of achievement was fantastic."

Jason hopes to use his story of recovery and his support of The Journal's Great North Fitness Revolution to encourage others to exercise, particularly people who believe their conditions prevent them from getting fit.

A number of years ago the Great North Fitness Revolution was launched to urge people of all ages, shapes and sizes to keep active through regular exercise and by adopting a good diet.

Jason said: "I want to inspire people who have been through similar situations as myself who think they can't do sports, or get up and get fit. I want them to realise they can do more than they think.

"There will be people who know they're using an illness or something as a barrier. I'm not saying get up and do a triathlon. I'm saying walk around the block, and then try running.

"The Great North Fitness Revolution is a great campaign to help everyone stay active, eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle. This shouldn't be difficult and there shouldn't be obstacles.

"When you get out there and do it, little bits will lead to something bigger."

In light of the levels of obesity in children in the North East, the father-of-two is also using his challenge to encourage kids to get active. …

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