August 14, 2019
Taking on a middle-distance race is a challenge for all, but with the summer heat and Weald of Kent hills, the Gauntlet at Hever Castle Festival endurance is no mean feat. Every athlete arrives at the start line having started their journey months in advance, not least Michael Dinwoodie, a Macmillan Fundraiser who stepped up to the Gauntlet following his recovery from cancer.
In 2018, a 24-year old Michael was faced with the news of a stage 4 melanoma diagnosis. With the support of family, friends and Macmillan, Michael immediately underwent successful surgery and a 12-month clinical trial. Inspired by his experience, Michael was determined to give back to the charity and signed up to fundraise by taking part in the Gauntlet, the challenging middle distance triathlon at Hever Castle.
We spoke to Michael to find out more about his experience:
What inspired you to take on the challenge of the Gauntlet at Hever Castle?
I’d never considered competing in any long distance, endurance type events until the Gauntlet. However, it seemed a perfect challenge to motivate me to get back to fitness post-surgery and to keep me going while I was undergoing treatment. I knew the Gauntlet would require a significant amount of training but still seemed eminently achievable.
How important was it to fundraise for Macmillan Cancer Support?
There are a large number of fantastic charities, particularly focused towards cancer sufferers and their families. For me, Macmillan has been so important during some of the lowest moments over the past 2 years and I couldn’t be more grateful for everything they’ve done for both myself, my family and for everyone affected by cancer. They are heroes. Fundraising for them was my way of saying thank you and hopefully, giving a little back.
What was the high point about racing at Hever Castle?
Too many to name! One that really stands out is the memory of crossing the finish line and seeing my family and friends cheering me on – not a feeling that will ever be forgotten
What one tip would you recommend for someone about to take on the Gauntlet?
Enjoy yourself! All the hard work has been done in the months leading up to it so just relax and enjoy the experience.
Do you have any plans to continue your triathlon journey?
Absolutely – I’ve caught the bug now and this is just the beginning. I’d love to do a few more middle-distance races, possibly flatter ones! And, of course, I’d like to do the Bastion one day…
To find out more about taking part in Castle Triathlon Series and fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support, please click here.