Lee Cooke, Gym Manager at Exeter Golf and Country Club has completed five triathlons in five days for charity, Combat Stress.
Raising over £440, Lee’s five-day challenge pushed his fitness to the extreme and raised awareness of Combat Stress with the club’s 4,500 members.
Taking part in the club’s gym and outdoor pool, Lee’s triathlon challenge covered over 157 miles swimming, cycling and running. Each triathlon consisted of a 750 metre swim, 40 km bike ride and 10 km run, combining the official distances of the British Triathlon Federation’s ‘Sprint’ swim and the ‘Standard’ cycle and run.
Although as a Gym Manager, Lee enjoys a good level of fitness with his day to day routines of high impact classes at the club such as Insanity, Circuits and Spinning, the five day triathlon achievement was a punishing challenge that demanded a much higher fitness level.
Lee was spurred on by his passion for his charity of choice, Combat Stress. As the UK’s leading Veterans’ mental health charity, Combat Stress currently supports over 5,900 ex-service men and women aged from 19 to 97. As a RAF Reservist, Lee endured first-hand experience of military action on a six-month post to Afghanistan and found the return to normality a struggle.
Lee said, “Returning from Afghanistan was an emotional rollercoaster and I found fitting back into civilian life more difficult than anticipated. Combat Stress helped me make that transition and I will always be grateful to them for that. I wanted to say thank you and so decided to put my body and mind through its paces with this triathlon challenge.”
After a good start on day one and two, Lee’s enthusiasm began to dip on day three, when he began to feel the strain. Although running was his strongest part of the triathlon, after 7 km, Lee felt like he had ran a marathon. On day four, he was joined by Kevin Butler, Vice President of Exeter Golf and Country Club along with members Rab Cross and Christine Ashby and two colleagues, James Weatherall and Max Jurczyk. Providing much needed motivation, this support from others enabled him to keep going.
Lee continued, “My best time of the week was day four when I was joined by colleagues and members. This shows the inspiration generated by having others share your experience. I managed to do the triathlon in 2 hours, 23 minutes, which was the highlight of the week for me. Another great moment was finally reaching the end of the triathlon on day five when I finished to a round of applause from everyone in the gym! The whole experience has been momentous for me and I am so pleased to have raised a good amount of money for Combat Stress. Thank you to everyone who helped.”
Lee has plans to continue his competitive sport with the Barnstaple Marathon in September, the Great West Run in October and then the Paris and London Marathons in 2016. Lee is also planning a 24 hour marathon in May and hopes to keep training towards his goal which is the Ice Marathon in the South Pole in November 2017. But first, time for a rest, perhaps?
For more information about Combat Stress visit www.combatstress.org.uk