Veterans to take part in gruelling Ironman triathlon despite bike theft setback.

Darlington and Stockton Times: PEDAL POWER: Former soldier Mikey Hall, who was paralysed in a training accident, with co-rider Mark Airey on a previous bike ride. PEDAL POWER: Former soldier Mikey Hall, who was paralysed in a training accident, with co-rider Mark Airey on a previous bike ride.

INJURED veterans, servicemen and women are gearing up for a gruelling triathlon – despite their bikes being stolen just weeks before the event.

Team True Spirit, which includes members from Phoenix House in Catterick Garrison, will raise money for Help For Heroes when they take part in Ironman UK, in Bolton on Sunday, July 20.

But just weeks ago, members of the team were left without their bikes after they were stolen from a campsite the night before they were due to compete in the Cotswold 113 triathlon.

Mark Airey, strength and conditioning co-ordinator at Phoenix House, who set up Team True Spirit to inspire members to aim for success in challenging events, said: “They may have stolen our bikes but they did not steal our spirit.

“Everyone who had a bike stolen now has another to ride for Ironman UK.”

The team will split into nine groups to complete the race, which involves a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile run.

Two members of Team True Spirit will complete the race using hand bikes, three using racing wheelchairs and one wounded serviceman will be using a specialist combined tandem bike with Mr Airey.

He added: “The combined tandem makes it easier to get round than on a hand bike. You have the combined power of two people - although also the weight of two people, so it’s slow uphill but like a rocket downhill.”

“The benefits are huge for their recovery - it’s the psychological and physical benefits of exercise, being part of a team, the camaraderie and just a general amazing feeling once you have completed the Ironman.”

Through taking part in Ironman UK, Team True Spirit hopes to raise £5,000 for Help for Heroes. To sponsor them, go to www.bmycharity.com/teamtruespirit14.

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