A DETERMINED dad is prearing to take on an epic coast to coast challenge with a difference to raise funds for the heart unit that saved his son’s life.
For the third year in a row, Ivan Hollingsworth, from Monkseaton, will be undertaking an endurance challenge to raise much needed funds for Chuf – the Children’s Heart Unit Fund based at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Ivan and his wife Nadine’s son Seb, who is now three, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot when he was a baby.
The youngster underwent hours of open-heart surgery at the hospital, who Ivan and Nadine have now vowed to raise half a million pounds to say thank you to those who helped saved his life.
The family set up Seb4Chuf, and have so far raised more than £217,000 towards their total.
The first challenge saw Ivan running five marathons in five days from Whitehaven on the North West coast of England and finishing at Tynemouth, and the C2C² saw him cycle 140 miles in two days and then five marathons in five days back, again finishing at Long Sands.
Now Ivan is in training for the third coast to coast challenge – C2C3 – that will include a one mile swim wrapped up within a 100 mile cycle which will kick off on Sunday, August 12.
On day two the team will run a double marathon, and finish on day three on Tuesday, August 14, with a final marathon bringing them to Long Sands in Tynemouth.
Ivan said: “It is a bit crazy. We try and get as many people to join us to raise as much money and awareness of the charity as possible.
“This is the third year we have done it, so each year we add an extra bit on, this will be the hardest C2C ever, and the route we are taking is the exact geography that the Freeman covers.
“I have been training twice a day, every day, but it is going to be tough.
“Seb is alive and well and is a wonderful little boy and that is testament to the unit and it is central to what we do, because we have the litving, breathing evident of the work the Freeman does, and that is our inspiration for our challenges.
“We are very proud of the unit that we have in Newcastle and we hope we can raise not just money, but the profile of Chuf as well to make it a charity that is as known as Great Ormond Street.”
Eleven core team members will cover the whole challenge, and up to 60 people are expected to join in at different points along the way.
Ivan and the team will set off from the marina at Whitehaven in Cumbria at 6.30am on Sunday, August 12, they will then cycle 30 miles to Derwent Water arriving at Haws Landing where they will endure a one mile open swim where the water temperature can be as low as 14 degrees.
“The reality of throwing in the swim is that it brings a huge physical challenge, it’s going to look amazing because all sorts of different strokes will be employed throughout depending on what people feel comfortable with – there is no challenge with speed, although my personal challenge will be to get across within 40 minutes,” added Ivan.
The team will warm up with hot showers and food before embarking on the second leg of the 70 mile cycle to the little village of Brampton in Cumbria.
On day two, the team will run a double marathon, running 52 miles from Brampton to Close House Hotel in Hexham, Northumberland where they will stay overnight.
Day three will be a single marathon finishing in Tynemouth on Long Sands beach at approximately 4pm to run into the sea, where the team are hoping to get lots of people to come down and cheer them on.
Anyone who wants to donate can text CHUF99 £5 or £10 to 70070.