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Page last updated at 12:51 GMT, Thursday, 27 January 2011
Tyne and Wear firefighters triathlon for charity
Last years firefighters from Manchester, Strathclyde and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services
The crew have to train for 10 months, up to 20 hours per week between work

A group of Tyneside firefighters are going an extra 140 miles (226km) to raise money for disadvantaged children.

Not content with putting their lives at risk everyday, eight men from the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service are now competing in the toughest triathlon in the world, in Lanzarote.

They are hoping to raise £5,000 for the regional charity Smile For Life.

To start their fundraising they will take part in a triathlon with a twist - it will be in a shopping centre.

To complete the Ironman triathlon, the firefighters will have to swim 2.4 miles (3.8km), ride a 112 mile (180km) bike course and run a full 26 mile (42.2km) marathon to cross the finish line - all in a 17 hour time limit.


The team of eight firefighters will have to fit six days of training a week into their busy working schedule to make sure they're in shape to complete the challenge.

Bryn Hanson, from Fulwell, is a crew manager for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and has worked there for 20 years.

The 41-year-old, is the officer in charge of incidents, he said: "I have a little bit more to think about, it's not only the people to rescue but also your crew, you come across a lot of different incidents."

Bryn Hanson
The crew are hoping to raise 5,000 for charity Smile For Life

Bryn and colleague Keith Christie, took part in the Ironman event last year for Cancer Research and they have now talked six of their colleagues into joining them this time round.

The lads have to train for 10 months, up to 20 hours per week, running and cycling on their days off or after work.

Bryn said: "Obviously if you have a busy night shift all you want to do is just go straight to sleep, but you've got to put the training in and get out of bed.

"The bad weather has hampered us quite a bit as the snow makes the roads difficult and quite dangerous, but we've just got to get our warm clothes on and get on with it."

There is already some rivalry between the lads and even on their weekly bike rides they all want to be the one at the front.

He said: "The first time I did it I thought I'd never do something so mad again, but it's a great sense of achievement. It makes you feel like you can do anything, it's just fantastic."

Smile For Life

The firefighters have chosen to use the triathlon as a way to raise money for north-east of England charity Smile For Life, which helps disadvantaged and disabled children.

Keith Christie
Keith and Bryn took part in the Ironman event last year

Firefighter Keith Christie, 39 from Gosforth, knows one of the ladies who helps run the charity.

He said: "We have an interest in raising money and awareness for the charity because it supports children from the North East which is the great thing about it.

"With it being a low key charity the money stays in the North East."

They have set themselves a target of £5,000 and to set the fundraising off they will be holding a special event at the Metro Centre in Gateshead on 12 March.

The crew will be running, rowing and cycling 1,000 miles from when the doors open until closing.

Keith came up with the unusual idea: "I thought I've got an idea, we have to train anyway so we'll take training in a different direction and we'll go and do an indoor triathlon, I thought it would be a good way to raise funds."

The crew will take part in the Ironman challenge on 21 May.

Keith said: "I live and breathe with these people, they're like my brothers and we're competing together in one of the toughest sports in the world.

"I can't wait till all eight of us cross the finish line, we'll be on an absolute high."


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