Stevenage athlete smashes eight-year Guinness World Record in hospice charity challenge

PUBLISHED: 11:20 13 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:20 13 July 2020

The emotional moment Simon broke the eight-year-old record. Picture: Ann Tryssesoone

The emotional moment Simon broke the eight-year-old record. Picture: Ann Tryssesoone

Ann Tryssesoone

A Stevenage athlete has sensationally broken an eight-year-old Guinness World Record, in a charity challenge which has raised over £8,000 for Garden House Hospice Care.

Simon smashed the existing world record by over seven minutes. Picture: Ann TryssesooneSimon smashed the existing world record by over seven minutes. Picture: Ann Tryssesoone

On Saturday, Simon Jackson – member of the Fairlands Valley Spartans – broke the Indoor Ironman Triathlon (rowing) world record with a time of 8 hours 17 minutes and 12 seconds, beating the longstanding record by over seven minutes.

The gruelling ironman challenge involved 3.86 km on a rowing machine, cycling 180.25 km on an indoor bike and then running a 42.2km on a treadmill – which Simon completed live at the SG1 Radio studios in Stevenage town centre.

Hundreds gathered at the SG1 studios to cheer on Simon. Picture: Ann TryssesooneHundreds gathered at the SG1 studios to cheer on Simon. Picture: Ann Tryssesoone

The event was live streamed on the SG1 Facebook page, and featured on a special radio show which included interviews with Stevenage mayor Jim Brown, and local legend Betty-Leigh Allinson – who has cycled a mile a day for over 80 days to raise over £20,000 for the hospice.

In an emotional day, Simon was cheered on by friends and family as nearly 10,000 people viewed the live stream throughout the day. The wider Stevenage community also gathered outside the SG1 studios, watching on through the glass windows – as only a small number were allowed in the building due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Simon has raised over £8,000 for Garden House Hospice Care. Picture: Ann TryssesooneSimon has raised over £8,000 for Garden House Hospice Care. Picture: Ann Tryssesoone

Simon said he was “over the moon” to have broken the record, but said he it still “hasn’t sunk in” that he’s now a Guinness World Record Holder.

“It was amazing to have family, friends, Spartans, and people from Freedom around me. The help I have been offered I could never have expeceted. I didn’t have a rowing machine, didn’t have a running machine. I was going on bike rides with my kids during lockdown, and just running alongside them.

Five-year-old Betty Allinson was interviewed on SG1 Radio. Picture: Ann TryssesooneFive-year-old Betty Allinson was interviewed on SG1 Radio. Picture: Ann Tryssesoone

“There’s lots of bad stuff in the world right now, and I think this has really brought out the best in people.”

Garden House approached Simon late last year about taking part in the challenge, and after speaking to friends of the charity Simon was taken aback by the incredible end of life care the hospice provides.

Simon with his wife and children, who supported him throughout the day.  Picture: Ann TryssesooneSimon with his wife and children, who supported him throughout the day. Picture: Ann Tryssesoone

Carla Pilsworth, director of income generation at Garden House, said: “Watching Simon finish and achieve a Guinness World Record was just phenomenal. He has put so much time and energy into training for this incredible challenge, we just cannot thank him enough.

“It was wonderful to see the community behind him at such a brilliant event and the support he has be given is very much appreciated.

Stevenage mayor - and fellow Spartans runner - Jim Brown dropped by to cheer Simon on. Picture: Ann TryssesooneStevenage mayor - and fellow Spartans runner - Jim Brown dropped by to cheer Simon on. Picture: Ann Tryssesoone

“Like many other charities, the hospice has taken a huge financial hit from COVID-19, with events cancelled and shops only just reopening. We are set to lose £25,000 a week so the funds Simon has raised help hugely in plugging the gap and will help us to continue to provide the very best end of life care to local families when it’s needed most.”

To donate, visit Simon’s justgiving page at justgiving.com/fundraising/ironmanworldrecord


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