Three years ago it would have been unthinkable for Ian Hay to walk more than a couple of miles, never mind undertake an extreme duathlon which includes a 27km bike ride and a 14km mountain walk. But in September 2019, Ian will be doing just that as he will participate in the Clova Extreme Duathlon raising money the marine conservation charity, Sea-Changers.
Ian's incredible journey to fitness began three years ago when he was categorised as super morbidly obese and weighed more than he is "willing to admit". Ian had tried the usual weight loss route of diets, but they simply did not work for him. So he did something that for him was really scary…he started to swim.
Ian said: "Going to a pool was very intimidating, especially as the only time I could swim was when the triathletes trained. A bunch of tumble-turning six-packs who surprisingly made me feel welcome. But, I had realised that things just had to change. Soon I was swimming a mile a session and starting to lose weight, so much so that walking became much easier. After a year I was swimming or walking every day, then I rediscovered mountain biking and then hill walking, I have now added trips to the gym."
Ian inspiring journey - now and then.
Ian's hard work has really paid off and he has now lost over 15½ stone and is fitter than he can ever remember. Ian's achievement has inspired him to undertake a challenge he could only have dreamt of three years ago.
"In September I will be taking part in the Clova Extreme Duathlon. A 27km bike ride and 14km mountain walk in the Angus Glens with over 1500 metres of height gain. Whilst this event is in the mountains my thoughts are always on the coast."
Ian works at the East Grampian Coastal Partnership (EGCP) which coordinates the 'Turning the Tide on Plastic' project. This is a two-year project that has, in its first six months, held 16 beach cleans with over 600 volunteers giving over 1500 hours to help clean up the local coastline. In addition it has also given talks to over 1,000 school pupils. On the 25th of April 2019 a group of volunteers cleared an amazing 4.14 tonnes of rubbish from 1 km of an Aberdeenshire beach.
Ian's understanding and first-hand experience of the scale of the marine litter problem has inspired him to use his duathlon challenge to fundraise for the marine conservation charity, Sea-Changers. Sea-Changers is a grant giving charity that supports UK projects like EGCP that aim to clear the UK's coast of marine litter and plastics. Ian said:
"At some point, just as was the case for me, the state of the marine environment just has to change. Donating to Sea-Changers will support projects like EGCP that aim to clear the UK's Coast of marine litter and plastics and raise awareness of the issues. EGCP will be making a grant application to Sea-Changers in the hope that a proportion of the money I raise will ultimately support EGCP's Turning the Plastic Tide Project's continuation and expansion, as well as supporting other UK projects doing similar work."
Helen Webb, Co-Founder of Sea-Changers said: "Ian's journey to fitness is an inspiration and he should feel so proud of what he has achieved so far. For him to continue to challenge himself and, in the process, raise money for Sea-Changers is fantastic and we are incredibly grateful for his or his support. The money raised will be used to fund projects that will address vital marine conservation issues including marine litter that are so urgent at the current time. Every penny Ian will raise through his hard work will make such a big difference to the health of our seas and shores."
To donate to Ian's Clova Duathlon Challenge visit his fundraising page here.