Triumphant will of iron

John Peatfield who is organising a series of triathlons in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, pictured with support team members Karen Watson (left) and Sophie Terrett and event mascot Possum.
John Peatfield who is organising a series of triathlons in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, pictured with support team members Karen Watson (left) and Sophie Terrett and event mascot Possum.
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IRON man John Peatfield braved torrential rain and high winds to triumph in a gruelling charity challenge.

The 61-year-old took to the hills, roads and water for an “ultra” triathlon in aid of the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) in Castletown, Sunderland, and its £1.6million PetAid hospital, which opened last year.

Despite facing punishing weather conditions, John cycled 86km, rowed 16km and completed a 18km Nordic walking route at Kielder Water, in Northumberland, as part of the three-day 360 Charity Challenge.

John, who also raised funds for the Macmillan Cancer Support and Medicins Sans Frontières, battled back from a sporting injury to complete the feat.

“To finish the challenge in good order and be on course to give each of the main charities £1,600 each is simply superb,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who supported me with sponsorship.”

John, a retired regional director for teachers’ professional development, also encouraged pupils on Wearside to attempt their own “mini triathlon”.

“The plan was to contact every school that I have had direct or indirect contact with in the past 20 years and invite them to do a sponsored event,” he said. “The school chose an appropriate ‘60’ theme to include a physical activity.

“For example, 120 kids walking half-a-mile, 60 kids doing one kilometre each, or 60 kids doing a 60km relay.”

John said he and brother Rob, 47, who also took part in the triathlon, trained hard for the event, visiting Herrington Park to practise cycling and nordic walking.

They were supported by John’s Hall Farm family, partner Karen Watson, her teenage daughter Sophie Terrett and dog Possum.

Michael Laing, manager at PDSA’s Sunderland PetAid hospital, said: “John’s donation is a great boost for all the staff and volunteers at PDSA.

Twitter: @SunEchoJohnston