Dad’s tri-ing challenge for charity

PUBLISHED: 12:20 28 August 2008 | UPDATED: 16:29 05 May 2010

James Utting – raising money for Muscle Dreams

James Utting – raising money for Muscle Dreams

A COURAGEOUS father is taking part in a series of gruelling challenges to raise awareness of an unforgiving muscular wasting disease. Muscular dystrophy remains the single biggest genetic killer of children in the world today. In the UK there are around 3

A COURAGEOUS father is taking part in a series of gruelling challenges to raise awareness of an unforgiving muscular wasting disease.

Muscular dystrophy remains the single biggest genetic killer of children in the world today. In the UK there are around 35,000 sufferers being robbed of their mobility, independence and finally for those with the most severe type, predominantly children, their lives.

But James Utting, 33, of Wadnall Way, Knebworth, is putting his heart and soul into training for a series of triathlons and runs to help support the Muscle Help Foundation, a charity set up by muscular dystrophy sufferer Michael McGrath to support sufferers.

This year James has already taken part in the Mazda Blenheim Triathlon at Blenheim Palace held in June and the Mazda London Triathlon held at the ExCel Centre in London this month and now he plans to take part in the Grim Duathlon on October 18 - a three-mile run, 13-mile bike ride and another three-mile run, all off-road which involves participants carrying their bikes in some sections due to the water being waist deep.

He said: "I started running two years ago to keep the dog fit and this year was the first time I took part in a triathlon. I started training at the end of December and I was relatively fit but juggling family life and training was difficult. But it's the people that cheer you on, on the day that really helps."

So far James has raised £1,600 in sponsorship, money that will go towards the programme's Muscle Dreams programme, designed to give children and young people with muscular dystrophy the opportunity to live a dream or fulfil an ambition. The Muscle Dreams cost from £250 to £5,000 and the most recent one saw a car enthusiast get the chance to meet Jeremy Clarkson and James May on the Top Gear film set.

Mr McGrath, a motivational speaker, said: "We have a sharp focus on Muscle Dreams - it's great to see the joy and fun on children's faces. We are trying very hard to remain focused on delivering experiences because they are something you can't put a price on."

Commenting on James' challenges, Mr McGrath said: "What James is doing is awesome. It's an individual effort but serious commitment on his part. I know how much training goes on behind the scenes but he's totally on side and supportive and can see what we're doing as a charity.

"I supported him at the triathlon in London this month and there's something very humbling when people put themselves out of their comfort zone and I have the deepest respect for them."

James will also be taking part in the Grim 8 Run in Aldershot on December 8 - an eight-mile run around an army vehicle training course.

To take part in the challenge in aid of the Foundation or to nominate someone for a Muscle Dream, visit: www.musclehelp.com

Or to sponsor James visit: www.justgiving.com/jamesutting

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