Team Will(ow) of Iron

In my last post I mentioned I’d signed up to take part in Will of Iron almost immediately. Since then I have lived and breathed triathlon and have been getting more and more enthusiastic by the day. Some might even say obnoxious. Fortunately I’m not the only one and Willow has five triathlon teams taking part and two people brave enough to take on the whole distance by themselves.

Introducing Team Will(ow) of Iron… 


Hannah joined Willow last month but she signed up to take part before she arrived! Hannah’s going to be running for Team Boom Boom and has successfully managed to find friends outside of Willow to join her team… I’m not sure what this says about the rest of us?!

Mark Rappitt

Mark is doing the whole Ironman distance by himself yet before signing up for Will of Iron he’d only ever managed to run 10k before and has never taken on a triathlon before… whether it’s brilliance, madness or sheer determination he is an inspiration to us all. Louise in the finance team is also doing it by herself but successfully avoided my camera.

_0004_Sarah Jane

When I first met Sarah Jane she declared she definitely wouldn’t be signing up and yet here she is excellently representing Team Blink and You’ll Miss Us.  Sarah Jane will be joined by two excellent teammates, Jenny (team runner) and Gabby (team swimmer).


I’m not entirely sure what Steve is doing here but he assures me he will be cycling for his team. Steve might have been a bit reluctant to sign up but with a little (a lot) of persuasion he decided to join Moira’s team. Moira also managed to get her sister and husband to take part, too, to tackle the swimming and the running. Together they are the Iron Lions and should probably win a prize for the best team name!


Carol will be cycling for Team Doubtfire and will be joined by me (team runner) and Simon (team swimmer). Carol has also offered to do the swimming for other teams hence fish on a bike! I’d just like to say that, as the one with the surname Doubtfire, I didn’t suggest the team name. This is probably my punishment for taking all these photos…

_0007_Liz and Claire

Liz and Claire are a team of two and doing the Special Day Makers at Willow proud. Claire has been training hard since signing up and Liz hasn’t done a thing… good luck girls!

If you’re interested in signing up as a team, you still have plenty of time to register. Team members can each pick a discipline (cycling, swimming or running) or choose all three and divide the distance between them over seven days. Anyone taking part can do as much or as little as they like and still call themselves a triathlete! Join us and sign up for Will of Iron today.

Until next time,


Guest post: Paul Botterill

There are lots of amazing people challenging themselves to take on Will of Iron to raise money for Willow, including Paul Botterill. Paul has committed to take on the whole distance by himself and has already started his training. He tells us how he’s getting on and what motivated him to do it:

“Starting on Sunday 18th May 2014, I will be undertaking my biggest challenge to date! I will be competing in Willow’s Will of Iron triathlon.

I will be required to swim 2.4 miles, cycle 112 miles, run 26.2 miles and I have to complete all the above within seven days…!

paulI decided to do this to raise awareness for Leestock and Willow, in memory of my friend Lee Dunford who was like a brother to me. We grew up together and I have so many happy memories with him. Lee unfortunately passed away in March 2006 after suffering from cancer for four years. Willow organised Lee’s Special Day, sending him and his band to a London recording studio and giving him a day to remember.

I love a challenge and I’m dedicating my all to make sure I achieve this. I’m hoping to raise £500 and already well on the way to reach my goal.

I’m actually loving training if I’m totally honest. It is difficult but I know I can’t let people down, especially as I have now raised over £200! It has given me a complete new view on life and helps with my football refereeing and fitness so it’s all a bonus.

As you can take part in the gym or outdoors, I plan to swim at the Kingfisher in Sudbury and cycle locally, as well as cycling to surrounding villages in the Sudbury area for more variety (and to complete some of the longer distances!). The running will mostly be done locally, too.

The plan is to end at the LeeStock Saturday session so I can celebrate at the festival!” 

Join Paul and sign up for Will of Iron today to help Willow make more Special Days for seriously ill young adults, like Lee.

Find out more about LeeStock musical festival in aid of Willow.

Never say never…

I only started working for Willow in February and within a week I’d already committed to taking part in Will of Iron. If you haven’t made it round the rest of the site yet, it’s basically an ironman in a week (instead of 17 hours). It means swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and running a marathon (26.2 miles). Easy, right?!

I ran a half marathon last year and as I crossed over the finish line I told myself: “Thank the bacon sandwich that’s waiting for me, it’s over. Never again.” I’m not a naturally athletic person and at first used my half-marathon exploits as an excuse to eat macaroni cheese twice a week (and this was before I’d even started training).

Feeling sorry for myself after my first 5km training run

Feeling sorry for myself after my first 5km training run

I really admire people that enjoy exercise but sadly I am not one of them. I don’t know about you but the thought of doing an ironman distance triathlon at all is quite alarming even if I don’t have to do it all at once.

And yet here we are.

I may be a rather reluctant runner but Will of Iron is pretty exciting as it’s a challenge anyone can take on. Despite the rather intimidating distances, you can really make the event your own. Do it by yourself, do the half-distance, or get together as many team members as you can find. As long as you complete the distance within any seven consecutive days in May you’re a winner.

Mark, a colleague at Willow, is doing the full distance by himself. For the record, he is my hero. There are lots of others who have signed up who are tackling the full distance or the half-iron man distance by themselves. Other teams are doing a bit of everything. Fortunately, I’m lucky enough to have a team doing it with me and we decided to divide the challenge by discipline which means I’m only responsible for the running. Thanks to Carol, our team’s cyclist, for being convinced (by me) to do just the cycling instead of doing the challenge by herself and to Simon, our team’s swimmer, for making sure I didn’t have to factor in the horror of buying a swimming costume as part of the challenge!

I hadn’t actually been running since December until last weekend when I just about struggled my way through 5km. It was ok. I got a bit lost en route and now walking upstairs is mildly painful (my own fault for not stretching) but I’m getting there. A bit of me might even be looking forward to it.

Whether you’re as averagely* athletic as me, a serious triathlon competitor or somewhere in between, we want you to sign up to Will of Iron. Every penny you raise will help Willow create more Special Days.

We’ll be introducing the rest of our Willow teams soon but in the meantime wish me luck!


* please interpret as regular cake eater and sofa sitter