Blind veteran David Cranson got a hero’s reception when he successfully completed Hartlepool’s latest Big Lime Triathlon.
The fit 62-year-old is registered blind having lost 90% of his sight through a hereditary condition.
But with the help of guide Darrel Slater of Hartlepool Triathlon Club, David completed a 750-metre swim of Jackson’s Dock, a 12-mile bike ride taking in Seaton Carew and finished it off with a 5km run.
David, a dad of two and grandad of four, said: “I was elated. The roar from people when I came out of the water and got on my bike, it was like being in the town end at Hartlepool United 50 years ago.”
Darrel, 39, volunteered to guide David around the course after Hartlepool Triathlon Club was approached by Kay Stokes, triathlon activator with Hartlepool Borough Council’s Feel Good in Hartlepool team.
He put together a 10-week training programme to help prepare David for Sunday’s event which attracted 276 entrants.
The roar from people when I came out of he water and got on my bike, it was like being in the town end at Hartlepool United 50 years agoDavid Cranson
During the swim and run Darrel maintained close contact with David and guided him with directions leaving him to do the rest.
He said: “This was David’s first chance to train with somebody and do a triathlon in this area.
“The day itself was amazing. The support of people and of fellow triathletes was just unreal.
“I think what David did was absolutely fantastic. His whole attitude throughout was very determined and never wavered.
“When facing difficulties on certain parts he always met them head on.
“He showed others there is no reason why it cannot be done.”
David, of Trimdon, completed the course in two hours and eight minutes and raised £210 for Hartlepool & District Hospice.
He said thinking of his family, including children Karen and Wayne and four grandchildren, helped carry him over the line.
He was made an honorary member of Hartlepool Triathlon Club and presented with a medal.
David, who served as a gunner with the 5th Regiment of the Royal Artillery, has completed numerous runs and swims and is now planning for a half marathon in London’s Hyde Park.
He cites the support of charity Blind Veterans UK since 2007 for helping to turn his life around after hitting rock bottom.
David added: “It is tough but every day I remember the words attitude, achieve and accept.”