Harrogate fitness group embarks on charity challenge for Diabetes UK

11 April 2014

A group of fitness enthusiasts who train in Harrogate will be joining forces and taking part in a grueling series of endurance events to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

The intrepid team of 16 men and women all regularly train with personal trainer and fitness coach, Richard Blackburn, who runs 360 Total Fitness in Harrogate. Richard’s father, Jack, had Type 2 diabetes and as a result he is keen to raise awareness about the condition.

The gutsy team plans to take part in a total of seven challenge events, kicking off with the 10 mile Yorkshire Warrior obstacle run this weekend (12 April 2014) and ending with the Zombie Survival Run in Skipton in October.

Spanning a wide range of ages and fitness levels, one of the toughest events the team will attempt is the Caledonian Challenge, a 54 mile hike in the Scottish Highlands which must be completed within 24 hours.

Richard and his team hope to raise nearly £3,000 for Diabetes UK, the charity which cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of people with diabetes.

Richard said: When he was younger, my father was in the army and during that period he lived the typical army lifestyle. He smoked from an early age too, but he was able to take the squaddies out for 15 mile runs in full kit every morning. When he left the army, he continued with a similar lifestyle but was not as active. The weight came on and he reached up to 18 stone. He did manage to lose some of the weight but suffered from diabetes complications. A few years ago the complications became worse and in the end he was scheduled for a limb amputation. Sadly though, we lost him just days before.

Diabetes is a major cause of lower limb amputation, heart attack, kidney failure and stroke. It is also the leading cause of preventable blindness in people of working age in the UK.

Diabetes UK is campaigning to ensure more people with Type 2 diabetes are identified early so complications are reduced through earlier diagnosis and management of the condition.

Richard said: I know how serious the condition can become and as several of my relatives also have diabetes I wanted to do something to help. The group has gelled really well together and they are all working really hard preparing for this weekend’s first event. I might lead them, but I don’t have to push them anymore; the bond between them is so strong that they all push each other.”


Louise Simonian, Regional Fundraiser for Diabetes UK in the Northern and Yorkshire region, said: Taking on these seven challenges is going to be really tough and we wish all the team well. It’s a fantastic fundraising effort by Richard and his team in Harrogate and the money raised will help Diabetes UK continue to tackle the challenge of diabetes on many fronts, by providing information, advice and support, campaigning for improved healthcare services and funding pioneering research into care, cure and prevention of all types of diabetes.

If you’d like to help Richard and his team by making a donation, you can do so at the Just Giving web page www.justgiving.com/360mentaltour2014

Photo shows (L to R): Kirsty Martin, Gavin Kirk, Helen Easton, Alistair Munro, Shaun Sandford, Catherine Reid, Caroline Smith, James Braddon, Richard Blackburn, Tom Davies, Judy Field, Louise Crabtree, Linda Smith, Katie Baldwinson

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