Ironman teacher’s long road ahead

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A TEACHER is pushing his fitness to the limit to raise cash for charity.

Matthew Turnbull, 33, is hoping to run, swim and cycle more than 300 miles and then complete a tough ironman competition to raise cash in memory of a friend.

He said he felt useless at seeing his best friend Dominic Behar’s mum Liz Hodgkiss, 61, die from cancer in December last year.

She was cared for by specialist nurses from Macmillan Cancer Support and seeing them in action spurred Matthew into wanting to give something back for the excellent work they did while she was suffering from the illness.

Matthew, from Seaton Carew, plans to raise cash for the charity by completing 305 miles of physically enduring events in under 30 hours of racing in Hartlepool this year and then next year take part events that will culminate in an Ironman distance triathlon, which consists of a 2.4 mile open water swim, a 112 mile bike ride, followed by a marathon run.

The dad-of-two, who recently suffered the loss of his granddad, Norman Turnbull, has been encouraged by support from his family.

He has been backed by wife Kelly, 33, who is a nurse at One Life Hartlepool, and sons Dylan, four, and three-year-old Ben, who have all joined in with his fitness regime.

The motivation for the fundraising campaign came after Liz, who worked at Manor College of Technology and was one of Matthew’s colleagues at Grangefield School, in Stockton, died after contracting stomach cancer, and the death of his granddad.

Matthew, who teaches English and drama at Grangefield School, Stockton, said: “What’s motivated me is the great people like Liz and my grandfather. These people fought so hard in their lives and what I will go through will be nowhere what they went through. I want to do it as a measure of respect for two people.”

He has so far completed a 10km and an 8km run and the Stokesley Duathlon, which involves a 5km run, 35km ride and a 5km run.

He is hoping to complete a string of triathlons and endurance events before the end of the summer.

To support Matthew in his bid to raise £1,000 this year can find his Just Giving page by logging onto www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk and selecting the link at the bottom of this story.