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874-mile duathlon challenge set by young triathletes for MS society


Two young Stratford-upon-Avon Triathlon Club members take on a huge 874-mile duathlon challenge to raise money for charity.

Eleven-year-old Josh and nine-year-old Ben Harrison are members of Stratford-upon-Avon triathlon club and in January this year, with no formal training available, decided to keep up their training by running and cycling between them the distance from John o’Groats to Land’s End (874miles) by the start of summer, all in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Their proud father, Richard Harrison, said: “Both boys are members of Stratford-upon-Avon Triathlon Club and compete in the West Midlands series events. When formal training was stopped last year, we spent all of lockdown one running and cycling together three to four times a week ensuring the boys could keep up on their training.

“Coming up with some interesting interval sessions and other things to keep it interesting. When lockdown three began, and seeing it was again going to mean formal training would not be in place for a while, the boys wanted to find a way to keep their motivation to train hard during the winter months and also try and do some good.”

Speaking of how the concept of the challenge developed, Harrison said: “On New Year’s Eve 2020, they had the idea to try and cover the distance between John o’Groats and Land’s End between them through running and cycling and raise some funds for the MS society. So, on January 1 2021, the challenge began.”

The boys have now covered more than 760 miles between them and are on route to hitting their target by June, completing their miles through a combination of running, outdoor cycling and turbo trainer rides.

“They are enjoying it and have found that it has really pushed them to put in a extra few miles each week, the hard part for us as parents is stopping them doing too much. Their initial fundraising target was £874, £1 per mile covered. They have exceeded this and have currently raised over £1,600,” Harrison revealed.

“People have been very generous and it’s not like the boys to take the easy route, they decided once they had hit their target to aim to double it and are now looking to achieve that goal and raise £1,748.”

Reflecting on what Josh and Ben have achieved so far, their father said: “The obvious benefits to health, confidence levels and the life lessons alone are huge and so important. We are really proud of them. Not only their drive and commitment to their sports but also the fact they want to help others.

“They have run in some truly horrendous conditions but at no point have they said, ‘no the weather’s too bad, we don’t want to go out and train today’. To quote Josh on one particular long wet run ‘I am a triathlete dad, I am supposed to be wet when I run’.

You can find Josh and Ben’s Just Giving page by clicking here.

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