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Perth teacher aims to inspire pupils and raise funds for MND Scotland with gruelling 17-hour triathlon

Perth High School PE teacher Adam Dearden.
Perth High School PE teacher Adam Dearden.

A Perth teacher hopes to inspire his pupils and raise funds for MND Scotland when he undertakes the physically demanding Ironman triathlon this weekend.

Perth High School PE teacher Adam Dearden will take on the challenge on Sunday when he swims 2.4 miles, cycles 112 miles, then runs a marathon in a single gruelling session.

Meanwhile, pupils at the school are following in his footsteps and also committed to completing the Ironman in small groups.

Adam Dearden.

As a rugby player, Adam has seen the effects motor neurone disease (MND) has had on other players of the sport.

He was inspired by former player Kevin Sinfield’s seven marathons in seven days challenge and wanted to do his own fundraiser for MND Scotland.

Adam learned more about MND through Doddie Weir and Rob Burrows opening up about their experiences.

“It is a disease I didn’t know much about until I heard the rugby players’ stories,” he said.

“This is a disease that I knew about through various rugby players getting it over the last few years but I didn’t thoroughly understand it until I listened to Doddie Weir and Rob Burrows’ stories.”

Training helped mental health

Adam has been training hard ahead of Sunday’s event and has continually pushed himself in preparation.

While most people train to run a marathon, Adam has run marathons to train for his fundraiser.

He said: “I’m not used to long distance running. I’m a rugby player so I’m used to short runs.

Adam Dearden. Picture: Kenny Smith.

“I have done each of the three parts in isolation so I know I have done the distances but I just need to put them together now.

“I have trained before work when I’m tired or when my legs are sore.

“I’ve wanted to run when I’ve been tired so when the time comes I know what the pain is.”

The lockdowns took a toll on Adam’s mental health and he used training as a way of overcoming the mental challenges.

“During last lockdown I was struggling mentally as there were no rugby games,” he said.

“During the lockdown, I did a 5k, a 10k and built up from there.

“I had watched a guy from YouTube doing an Ironman and I said to my friend from work that I was just going to do it.”

Impact on pupils

As time went on during the second lockdown, Adam and other teachers noticed pupils becoming quite low.

Teachers showed them a video of Adam’s lockdown journey and organised them into groups who would undertake the Ironman together as a team, with each member doing part of the challenge.

Adam hopes to inspire his pupils. Picture: Kenny Smith.

Adam said: “I want to show them they can have bad days and weeks but they can still achieve things.

“I’m doing this for charity but it’s also to inspire the kids here.

“And it’s to round off what’s been a pretty sucky year in a positive way.”

Donations to Adam’s fundraiser can be made on his JustGiving page.

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