Blind athlete David is all set for Hartlepool triathlon - are you?

Blind triathlete David Cranson (right)  with guide Darrell Slater.
Blind triathlete David Cranson (right) with guide Darrell Slater.

David Cranson is saddling up for this year’s Big Lime Triathlon.

Blind triathlete David will be taking part in the event for the second time at the age of 63.

Blind triathlete David Cranson

Blind triathlete David Cranson

The ex-serviceman, who lost his sight to an hereditary condition that affects both of his optic nerves in the 1980s, last year clocked a time of two hours, eight minutes and 27 seconds with guide Darrell Slater.

A full house of 300 competitors is expected for the Hartlepool Council-organised event on Sunday, October 1, which takes place in and around Hartlepool marina and Seaton Carew.

It comprises a 750m open water swim, a 20km cycle ride and a 5km run - and there is still time to get involved either as a competitor, volunteer marshal or spectator.

David, a former heavy artillery driver with 5th Royal Artillery, sought help from St Dunstan’s – now Blind Veterans UK – and began attending the charity’s rehabilitation centres in Sheffield and Brighton where staff spotted his strength of character and sporting ability.

My times are important but they’re not the be all and end all.

David Cranson

They encouraged David, who lives in Deaf Hill and trains at Hartlepool Council’s Mill House Leisure Centre, to get involved in endurance events – a mix of marathons, triathlons, 60-mile tandem drives and open water swims.

He has since participated in six London Triathlons, the London Marathon and three Brighton Half-Marathons. This year, he has already completed the Olympic-distance Royal Windsor Castle Triathlon and a week after the Big Lime Triathlon in Hartlepool he intends to take part in the Royal Parks Half-Marathon in London.

“My times are important but they’re not the be all and end all,” he said.

“It’s all about that sense of achievement when you finally get over the line and they put a medal around your neck,” said David who says the love and support of his family, including his four grandchildren, constantly spurs him on.

He is doing the Big Lime Triathlon in aid of Alice House Hospice in Hartlepool.

Community fundraiser Janice Forbes said: “David is truly inspirational and all of us at the hospice wish him the best of luck. It’s very kind of him to choose to support the hospice and all the money he raises will help to fund the vital care services that we provide for patients and families affected by incurable illnesses.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor David can go to People can also still enter the Big Lime Triathlon at
Recruitment is also on-going for volunteer marshals who play a vital role in ensuring the event runs smoothly. They are stationed at key points around the course to help direct both competitors and spectators. Anyone over the age of 16 who is interested should e-mail or call (01429) 284050.

Spectators are also seen as having an important role in encouraging competitors and creating a positive atmosphere on the day of the event.

Kay Stokes, Triathlon Activator with the Council’s Feel Good in Hartlepool team, said: “Spectators are greatly appreciated so we would urge people to come along and give the competitors a cheer to help boost their performance.”