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17/07/2019

Supporting Chris Leek’s Charity Enduroman Challenge

Most of you will know Chris from his contact with the Unitas Wholesale membership and also through various events over the years.

Chris is about to embark on an amazing challenge which has been written about in the Telegraph to raise awareness of what he is about to do and the charities he is hoping to help. The Telegraph article is copied below and attached for your reference.

Should you wish to support Chris, donations can be made using the following link: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ChristopherLeek

The Telegraph article – 9th July 2019

Move over Ironman: a Briton is about to attempt the Enduroman, and it’s ridiculously tough
Rob Kemp
9 July 2019 • 3:03pm

 

Meet Chris Leek, a super-fit triathlete who’s about to tilt at one of the toughest records in world endurance sport: the fearsome Enduroman run, swim and cycle. The Enduroman Arch 2 Arc isn’t like other triathlons. You only have to look at the number of people who have completed it to understand its challenge: 37, since it was first attempted by Englishman Edgar Ette back in 2000.

Chris Leek will attempt to complete the Enduroman triathlon within three days. What makes it so difficult? Again, the numbers speak from themselves. An 87-mile run,  from London’s Marble Arch to Dover, followed by a 21-mile swim across the English Channel, and then a 181-mile cycle from Calais to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, all without stopping (in theory anyway). To put that into context, an Ironman, which is often seen as the ultimate test of ultra-endurance athletes, involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26-mile run. Piece of cake.

Next month, beer sales manager Chris Leek, from Orpington in Kent, will aim not just to add his name to the list of people to complete the Enduroman but to break a world record in the process. Chris, 32, an amateur athlete with no professional training, is looking to finish the mammoth 289-mile triathlon in a time better than the current record of 73 hours and 39 minutes. Oh, and he’s doing it without a wetsuit.

“Only four people have done it without a wetsuit, so this really would be a special record to break,” he tells me. “But I’m looking to raise a lot of money by making that sacrifice. My dad has both Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia and is cared for full-time by my mum. I’m aiming to raise awareness and £1m for three charities very close to our hearts; Parkinson’s UK, Lewy Body Society and Orpington’s Saxon Day Centre.”

Leek first heard about the Enduroman when he was 21. “I did an Ironman triathlon and smashed it, but that was a few years back. When dad began to suffer with Parkinson’s and then dementia I really struggled to come to terms with it. I let my fitness go and my diet too. I went from running marathons in sub-four hours to getting breathless climbing the stairs. I even started smoking as my mental health went downhill too.”

“My road back to full fitness has been pretty full on. I cycle to and from work each day – a 32-mile round trip – and run for up to six hours some nights. I do 50-mile runs at the weekends and I swim in the English Channel on Saturdays. Training at this intensity isn’t healthy I know, but I want to do this world record.”

Like many triathletes, Chris concedes that the swimming leg of the race is the discipline that gives him the most sleepless nights. “For the swimming element I started in the pool back in November building up my distance and speed. As of March I started open water swimming in lakes, and I’ve teamed-up with the Dover Channel Training Group to do five-hour swims without a wetsuit every Saturday in Dover Harbour. It’s so cold that when I exit the water I’m ‘gender neutral’, if you catch my drift!”

Chris will certainly need his sense of humour and mental fortitude to complete the Arch 2 Arc and hit his fundraising target. Aside from the head-splitting amount of miles, athletes who take it on know they face the possibility of uncertain start times, delays in Dover due to unforeseen changes in the weather, route deviations on the bike course and even difficulties entering central Paris when pollution levels are high. Completing it is a remarkable achievement – let alone doing it in record time.

“I’m regularly in tears on the way to training because I know what I’ve got to put my body through. But my dad is such a huge motivation and thinking about raising this money for him, and people in a similar condition, will keep me going when things get tough.”
Leek says one of the hardest components of his training has been nutrition. “I drink too much coffee and lost over a stone when I started training, becoming very lean. But that’s not the body you want to swim the channel with. You need some ‘cushioning’ to keep the internal organs warm so I’m now on five meals a day – from porridge with full-fat milk and pastry snacks to a couple of lunches a day of rice with chicken or beef. Plus I’m constantly taking on fluids.”

“I’ve done a few physical challenges in my time, but this will be the biggest by a long way. I’ve tried to keep a good balance between training, work and my personal life, but I’ll really be looking forward to that first beer at the finish line!”

To help Chris reach his target, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/ChristopherLeek
Record holders without wetsuits
• 2012 – Mark Bayliss – 73 hours 39 minutes
• 2013 – Rachel Hessom – 167 hours 7 minutes
• 2017 – Rachel Hill – 88 hours 30 minutes
• 2018 – Laura Marshall – 81 hours 28 minutes
Chris Leek is sponsored by his employer Michelob ULTRA, Budweiser Brewing Group’s new light beer
Have you ever competed in an Ironman? Would you ever attempt the Enduroman? We want to hear from you in the comments section below.

 

 

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