Wednesday 29 April 2020

Being in lockdown is hard enough for anyone but setting yourself the extra challenge of completing an Ironman in your conservatory just seems an impossible task – unless you’re Russell Williams. 

The Ceredigion man has raised over £4,400 for the Wales Air Ambulance by completing the Ironman, which is considered one of the most challenging one-day sporting events in the world. 

His Ironman included rowing 2.4 miles on a rowing machine, which replaced the usual swim, cycling 112 miles on an exercise bike and running 26.2 miles on the treadmill - all in just one day. 

The Wales Air Ambulance has seen a significant decrease in donations since the coronavirus outbreak, which hasresulted infundraising eventsbeingcancelled,nobucket collections,and charity shopsbeing forced toclose.

Dad-of-two Russell, 41, decided to raise money for the Charity because the Wales Air Ambulance is ‘a critical service’ that he believes ‘we can’t afford to lose in rural Wales’. 

Speaking of his achievement, Russell from Penparc, said: “It was tougher than I thought it would be! The repetitive nature of the treadmill was something I hadn’t considered. But seeing the notifications of donations coming in and watching the figure climb kept me going throughout the challenge.” 

Surprisingly Russell hasn’t always been one to exercise but following his heart attack at the age of 28, in 2008, it made him more determined to live life to the full. A few years later he started exercising. He said: “Having a heart attack so young certainly gave me a different outlook on life, you just need to believe to achieve. A school friend of mine is a cancer survivor and he told me, when I was ill, to keep living, breathing and believing.” 

The original target that Russell set himself was £500 and he is delighted by the good wishes and money that has been raised so far. 

Reflecting on the donations, he said: “I feel humbled by the generosity of everyone, people I don’t know have donated some big amounts, and that’s very humbling to know I’ve captured their minds on this. 

“The reaction from the public has been amazing. A lot of people have questioned my sanity! There’s also a lot of astonishment about the distances covered, and how that was achieved in one day.” 

Mark Stevens, Wales Air Ambulance fundraising manager for South and Mid Wales, said: “Russell’s story is one of resilience and inspiration. From suffering a life-threatening illness, he is now living his life to the full, something we can all learn from. In addition to that, he has demonstrated his wish to support others in need, particularly in rural communities where our service really can be the difference between life and death. 

“On behalf of everybody at Wales Air Ambulance, and everybody across Wales who will benefit from this fundraising, I would like to say thank you to Russell and to all those who support his challenge.”

Russell would like to thank his family for supporting him through the event by getting him food and drinks, and for putting up with his ideas and helping him achieve them. 

If you would like to acknowledge Russell’s efforts and donate to his fundraiser, you can do so by visiting his Just Giving page here