Duo complete 200-mile triathlon in aid of pioneering health unit

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Bike Blade and Boot Challenge

A marathon nine-day triathlon by two unlikely athletes has raised funds for a special gym at Oxford Brookes, helping adults and children with serious medical conditions keep as fit and healthy as possible.

The cycling, rowing and walking challenge by Phil Skipp, a driver at the University, and David Woodman, the husband of Vice-Chancellor Professor Janet Beer, followed the route of the River Thames between Oxford and London.

Oxford Brookes' Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation (CLEAR) Unit offers unique support for those needing supervision during exercise because of a medical condition, and helps improve mobility among older users.

The team works with people with conditions such as heart disease, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.

The rowing leg was completed in a traditional Thames camping skiff, a narrow wooden boat with canvas roof, on which the pair slept during the five-day stint.

As they rowed down the River Thames, they enjoyed a stop-off at the Oxford Brookes University Boat Club boathouse at Cholsey, to meet the University's elite rowing squad.

The schedule for the trip was:
• cycle from London to Oxford (60 miles) – 11 June
• row from Oxford to Walton-on-Thames (80 miles) – 12-16 June
• walk from Walton-on-Thames to John Henry Brookes Building, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford (60 miles) – 17-19 June.

David said: "We both believe in the central importance of mobility and as we age, and our bodies squeak in ways they didn't in the past, there is a desire to push ourselves to see what we can achieve physically.

"The CLEAR unit at Brookes does such great work in helping people overcome their mobility difficulties so we're hoping to raise much deserved funding to help their work."

James Bateman, who manages the CLEAR Unit, added: "We're really grateful to David and Phil for undertaking the bike, blade and boot challenge.  At the CLEAR unit we strive to help keep people with disabilities and mobility difficulties moving and this funding will help us continue our very important work."

The challenge also comes 125 years after the publishing of Jerome K Jerome’s novel Three Men in a Boat, which saw three friends make the same journey on the Thames.

Donations to support David and Phil, and the work of the CLEAR Unit, can be submitted on their JustGiving page.