A 71-year-old Salfordian has recently competed in a grueling 140-mile triathlon in Hawaii, raising more than £3,000 for Guide Dogs UK in the process.
Taking place last month, John Heaney flew out to North America after being invited to take part in the Ironman World Championships which begins with a 2.4 mile open water swim, followed by a 112 mile cycle, finishing with a London marathon-esque 26 mile run.
Thrilled with the opportunity, John said: “It’s like getting into Wimbledon and playing Rodger Federer on center court.
Unfortunately, in my age group, there’s only one place in each race, they’re like gold dust. So I am very privileged to have been asked.”
He completed the course in 15 hours, 9 minutes and 39 seconds with his son capturing an image of him crossing the line via a live stream, which is now printed in the Heaney’s living room.
Whilst competing on the other side of the world, John has still managed to make an influence back home, raising over £3000 in total for Guide Dogs UK.
He shares a close bond with the charity down to his wife Sue, who works as a volunteer at the training centre in Atherton.
He said: “I’ve seen through the work of Guide Dogs, what a difference it can make to people’s lives.”
“One of my wife’s closest friends is blind and she has a guide dog and without that dog her life would be reefed. She goes to the gym, she goes shopping, she gets on the bus and goes to the park for a walk – she lives a normal life.”
“There’s so many charities out there and they are all extremely worthwhile but, in the end, you have to choose one, you can’t give to them all. You concentrate on one and put as much of your resources into that as you can and hope somebody else is doing it for another charity, so that everybody in the end can benefit.”
Part of John’s fundraising has come through his GoFundMe page, you can donate here.