Two local athletes and one from the US with a county connection will tackle IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire for causes close to their hearts.
Thousands of athletes from across the world will be taking part in the triathlon event on Sunday June 11. They include many from across the county competing on familiar ground.
Though not from Staffordshire, US/UK citizen Douglas Ziman has a county connection. Originally from Darlington, Douglas moved with his family to Houston in 2006 and is now a student at the University of Virginia. His grandparents lived in Staffordshire all their lives, but sadly both died during the covid pandemic. Douglas is competing in their memory.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to coming back to a place that means so much to me and my family. I am incredibly lucky to be able to travel so far to do the sport I love, and I wouldn’t be able to do that without Nana and Grandad. This is all about saying goodbye to them in my own way, and so however the race goes, I know the day will be a special one that I’ll remember forever.”
Twenty-three-year-old Enya Collier from Stone is competing in her first Ironman. The Loughborough University graduate will be fundraising for two charities. The Andy Gibson Foundation was set up in memory of one of Enya’s hockey coaches at Loughborough who tragically died in a car accident. It helps young people gain opportunities in the sport. The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) is a national charity that supports the farming community. Enya is a keen advocate of mental health awareness in the farming community which the charity works towards.
Enya said: “I'm excited and nervous for IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire. “Fifteen hundred pounds was my target and the total is now over £1,600. “Thank you to everyone for the donations and support, but please keep donating for these two great causes. With race day so close, my training is calming down to make sure I'm ready and best prepped for the race. I think the run will be the toughest after the hilly 90km bike route, but I hope the atmosphere and crowd will help push me through to the finish.”
Adam Bushnell works for Staffordshire County Council and it’s the second time he’s competed in the event. IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire is one of three triathlons Adam is doing this year to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s UK. It is in memory of his friend’s father, who died as a result of the disease in October last year. He will also compete at the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon and IRONMAN Wales 140.6.
Adam said: “Having completed the IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire in 2021 in the searing heat, in over seven hours and being forced to withdraw prior to the start last year, it is safe to say my Ironman journey has been a bumpy one over the last few years. This year however, everything is going very well. My training is on track and my fundraising for Parkinson’s UK is taking off. I am looking forward to a great day on the June 11.”
Staffordshire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy and skills Philip White said: “It’s fantastic to see these athletes take on what is an incredibly tough challenge and to do so for causes that are personal to them.
“What is great about the event is that it brings together our own residents with participants from around the world – taking in Staffordshire’s scenic countryside.
“We hope Enya and Adam get a huge amount of encouragement from their home crowd, and welcome Douglas back to our county again. We hope he enjoys the experience and can return again soon. With just a couple of weeks to go now, we’d encourage as many people as possible to come out and enjoy the event and remind people to familiarise themselves with the route and temporary closure times.”
The event is a collaboration between IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire, Staffordshire County Council and Stafford Borough Council.
For full details on all road closures and spectator information, people should visit the IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire website.