Bryn and brawn: Sunderland fireman turns iron man

Sunderland firefighter Bryn Hanson will be swapping his fire engine for a bike, swimwear and running shoes when he competes in an Iron Man challenge this May raising money for St Oswald's Hospice.
Sunderland firefighter Bryn Hanson will be swapping his fire engine for a bike, swimwear and running shoes when he competes in an Iron Man challenge this May raising money for St Oswald's Hospice.
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FROM fireman to iron man, super-fit Bryn Hanson is set to feel the heat as he prepares to tackle one of the toughest triathlon challenges in the world.

The 41-year-old, from Fulwell, is one of eight members of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service who are attempting the gruelling Lanzarote Iron Man contest in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice and Smile for Life, a North East charity helping disabled and disadvantaged children.

Hundreds of professional and amateur triathletes will descend on the Canary Island in May to take part in a gruelling competition which will see them take part in a 2.4 mile swim, cycle 112 miles and complete a 26-mile run – all within a 17-hour time limit.

“It’s something I’ve done before, so I know what I’m letting myself in for,” said Bryn, who works as a crew manager. “After the last time, I promised myself there wouldn’t be another, but I was talked into giving it another go.

“The recent snow has made it difficult to train. I’ve had to do a lot of it indoors, but I’m confident of getting through it okay.”

The fund-raisers are drawn from fire stations across Sunderland, Newcastle and North Tyneside.

Bryn, who completed last year’s challenge in an impressive 12 hours 26 minutes, said: “The conditions over there are going to be hard. It’s a really, really windy island, which makes the cycling very difficult.

“But if the wind dies down, then the heat will get you.

“There’s no escape, that why it’s widely known as the toughest triathlon in the world.”

Ahead of the challenge on the Spanish holiday island, the group will run, row and cycle 1,000 miles between them at a fund-raising event at the MetroCentre on March 12.

Using a treadmill, rowing machine and exercise bike, they will spend nine hours in the Blue Mall, between 10am and 7pm, when shoppers will be able to make donations and buy raffle tickets.

“We’ve already been given a lot of support,” said Bryn. “Quite a few businesses are sponsoring us and we’ve had a lot of people making donations. We hope it continues.”

Anyone unable to attend the event can make a donation or support the firefighters at www.justgiving.com/keith-christie999

Any businesses which wish to sponsor the team and help provide equipment can email brynhanson@hotmail.co.uk