Sunderland Ironman completes triathlon challenge to support terminally-ill wife

Ironman donations for St Benedicts Hospice.
Dave and wife Amanda Ellis
Ironman donations for St Benedicts Hospice. Dave and wife Amanda Ellis
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A Sunderland fundraiser completed a 16-hour gruelling ironman event to raise cash for the hospice caring for his terminally ill wife.

Dave Ellis, 47, from Bedford Place, Silksworth, managed to complete the Austrian Ironman held in Klagenfurt, Austria, in 16 hours to raise £2,648 for St Benedict’s Hospice.

Dave Ellis crossing the finishing line in the Austrian Ironman. Pic by  Finisherpix.com.

Dave Ellis crossing the finishing line in the Austrian Ironman. Pic by Finisherpix.com.

The Nissan worker decided to take on the event as a way of saying thank you to the hospice for their support and care throughout his wife Amanda’s battle with cancer.

Amanda, 46, was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in her liver and bones in March last year on what should have been the anniversary of 10 years in the clear.

Dave said: “I am well and truly pleased with the amount we have raised so far.
“The Ironman itself was a really tough day, as the swim was a bit of a battle and I suffered two punctures on the bike.

“In the last part of the swim, you swim from the lake down a canal for about a kilometre, where all the athletes are funnelled into a smaller area and with it being a bit more crammed in, I managed to get a few unintentional kicks to the head from the swimmers in front.

Dave Ellis after competing the Austrian Ironman for St Benedict's Hospice.

Dave Ellis after competing the Austrian Ironman for St Benedict's Hospice.

“The cycle course was great and I was able to maintain a better speed than I was hoping for.

“It looked like I was going to be in for my fastest bike time, but two punctures saw to that.

“The last leg of the Ironman triathlon was the worst. I was able to run the first hour of the marathon, but not being used to such heat, I had to walk and run to stop myself from being sick.

“It was just a case of adapting as best as possible and dealing with the hand I was dealt.

Ironman donations for St Benedicts Hospice.
Dave and wife Amanda Ellis with fundraising manger Catrina Flynn (middle)

Ironman donations for St Benedicts Hospice. Dave and wife Amanda Ellis with fundraising manger Catrina Flynn (middle)

“Which is no different to my wife’s situation, and that of others of having to deal with what’s been dealt to them.”

Dave finished the 2.4 mile swim in one hour and 34 minutes; the 112 mile cycle in seven hours 22 minutes and the 26.2 mile marathon in six hours and 43 minutes.

On hearing of his fundraising efforts, bosses at Nissan donated £500 towards the Hospice, which has been providing Amanda with nurses and a range of support services throughout her illness.

Amanda said she was very proud of her husband’s achievements and plans to hold more fundraising events including a charity night in January in the hope of raising a combined total of £10,000 for the hospice.

The mum-of-one said: “I am very proud of him and I am pleased with the amount of money that has been raised.

“My aim is to raise £10,000 for the hospice overall and we have a few more things in the pipeline to do that.

“We believe that the hospice needs to be recognised for the work that it does and we want to raise awareness that it isn’t just somewhere people go to die, it offers so many services.”

Dave said special thanks go to his family and friends, along with Kiowa Ltd, colleagues at Nissan, staff at PPG Revocoat, Killingworth art group, Boldon Colts Whites under-11s team and Silksworth Independant Methodist Church for their donations.

He added: “I would like to thank Amanda for still letting me still do the triathlon when she wasn’t well enough to travel, my friend Martin Charters for stepping in to help with the driving; my coach Andy Stevens from F4L Coaching, Macmillan nurse Toni Burns, as well as a big thank you to The Phoenix Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital and finally St Benedict’s Hospice.”

To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/David-Ellis20