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Dave Anderson

Ironman Dave conquers Ironman Wales

Published: 18 Oct 2012

For Royal Naval Lieutenant Dave Anderson 2012 has been a busy year. The former Royal Marine, now based on 849 Squadron at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, has been training hard to take part in one of the most gruelling events known to athletes: Ironman. 2012 has been consumed with training for not one but TWO Ironman events six weeks apart and all in aid of charity whilst juggling his busy work life with family life and fundraising.

For those not familiar with Ironman it is an extreme form of triathlon that requires participants to be super fit. Where a traditional triathlon consists of a mile swim, a 25 mile cycle and a 6 mile run; an Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile open water swim immediately followed by a 112 mile bike ride, finishing with a 26.2 mile marathon run all to be completed within 17 hours.

The previous year, Dave had set himself the tall order of entering an Ironman with only 15 weeks to prepare and train and had given himself the target of 14 hours completion time. In actual fact he managed 12 hours 32 minutes - well under his time! For Ironman UK 2012 he had decided to give himself some extra time: “I’d trained pretty much all through the winter, including freezing cold sea swims off Falmouth. I did have issues with a couple of injuries, one being a jammed cuboid bone in my foot which was misdiagnosed for weeks which meant I couldn’t run, then the podiatrist in Helston cured it with one semi violent manoeuvre!”

Dave’s training programme built up to around 15 hours training per week, with most of the long distance rides and runs being put in at weekends. The majority took place on Saturday and would typically consist of a 2 mile sea swim followed by an 80 mile bike ride, then a 15 – 20 mile run on the Sunday.

Whilst all this training was taking place Dave was also juggling his family life, work life and fundraising as well as taking part in other sporting events and commitments including taking two weeks off to compete in the Bisley combat shooting competition.

Last year Dave’s fundraising amounted to £11000 including Gift Aid and so this year Dave not only set himself the task of getting below a 12 hour finish time, but also bettering his fundraising amount from the previous year. This involved a large campaign mainly via social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

By the time Ironman UK came around Dave had managed to raise another £11000, equalling what he had raised the previous year. However the Ironman itself, held in the Lancashire countryside, would prove to be harder than the previous year, with the hot summer conditions making the race all that more tougher. He was 20 minutes slower on the swim than the previous year, exiting the water in 1 hour 37 minutes and in 1250th place out of 4000 before moving onto the bike. Maximum effort saw him move up the field into around 400th place before finally moving on to the run and again Dave made up ground to finish in around 250th place and a time of 12 hours 14 minutes.

For most people having just completed one of the most gruelling endurance races in the country, the last thing on their minds would have been to enter another one, but that is exactly what Dave did! As soon as he was back home, not happy with getting over 12 hours and keen to raise more money for charity, he went online to see what other endurance events were up coming. He then found Ironman Wales which was in 6 weeks time and he decided to enter, even though it was one of the hilliest races in the country! So, after a week’s rest he threw himself back into training, looking for all the steepest hills in Cornwall to practice on!

Ironman Wales took place in Tenby and like Ironman UK the weather was not favourable for racing, this time it was wind and rain! Fortunately the sea state on race morning was nice and calm and with the help of some online coaching Dave managed the swim in 1 hour 14 minutes. A one kilometre uphill run to the bikes didn’t help matters nor did the driving rain, wind and steep hills but once on the bike Dave clocked a time of 6 hours 35 minutes! The marathon distance run was next and a very respectable time of 3 hours 34 minutes was posted. In total Dave had completed Ironman Wales in 11 hours 42 minutes and had beaten his target by 18 minutes!

Dave has now raised over £15,000 which equates to £18,000 with gift aid and has beaten his target of over £11000. 50% of the money raised will go to his chosen charity the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund (RMCTF) and the rest divided equally between Rotary nominated charities such as Cancer Research, CLIC, Children’s Hospice UK and others.

With over 70 Royal Marines having lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq and over 250 with life changing injuries such as multiple amputations, it is very important that the profile of charities such as RMCTF are raised and supported as much as possible. The charity immediately steps in to help the families of those who are killed or wounded, issuing a grant to help out with initial costs as well as providing help to those who are badly wounded and need assistance. For Dave, a Royal Marine of over 20 years, this is a cause that is close to his heart: “I have personally seen the benefits my chosen charity gives, and only this week I lost a very good friend who died whilst on active service in Afghanistan, albeit by natural causes but the RMCTF will have immediately went to him with families assistance”.

In the last 16 months Dave has run three Ironmans and has just recently completed the Lands End 100 and has raised over £29000 for his chosen charities.

If you would like to donate any amount to the worthy charities that Dave is racing for please visit his fund raising website and donate even if it is just £1. Donations can be made at Just Giving or via text by texting RMRM64 £1 (or any amount up to £10) to 70070.


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