Competitor Stories – Sean Underwood

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Sean Underwood who took part in the Atwells Martin Lettings Westonbirt Triathlon with us.

“I was morbidly obese in Jan 2016 and weighed 23 stone. I couldn’t run a mile or even 100m for that matter! I was playing rugby and embarrassed myself on the pitch being so unfit in front of my 9 year old son, so on that day (Jan 4th 2016) I joined a slimming world group. I lost 1 stone in my first week. I lost 2.5 stone by February 2016 and started running….1 mile at a time…..over the months I built it up and continued to lose weight. 7 stone lost in 7 months and I managed to build my running up to a 10K race….then a half marathon.

I now run regularly with a club and I’ve completed 3 half marathon with more booked. Also I’ve taken on loads of 10ks on and off road and cycled the Malvern Madhatter 75 miler. This year my big events are Ride London and London Triathlon Olympic distance so Westonbirt was my first ever tri.

I’ve now lost 8 stone in total and don’t intend on losing any more. I’m a different person I can do everything I want, I’m no longer under a specialist for chest breathing problems and my blood pressure for the first time in adulthood is “normal”!”

Competitor Stories – Chris Britton

A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Chris Britton who took part in the Atwells Martin Lettings Westonbirt Triathlon with us.

When I was 19 I was diagnosed with leukaemia, and underwent three years of chemotherapy, during which I had to have both of my hips replaced. After my treatment I was determined to live a normal life, so took up cycling as I was told not to do any running by my surgeon.

As a swimmer in my youth, and then becoming a regular at the DB Max TT Series, it was only natural that I would go for another DB Max event and enter a triathlon against the doctors recommendation – Westonbirt 2016 was my first ever triathlon, and somehow I finished in 25th place!

 I decided to enter again this year because it’s a great venue, flowing bike course and a friendly atmosphere. Unfortunately my knee and hip have been causing problems this year, so I haven’t done any run training.

 I wasn’t aiming to beat my swim or run times, just looking to enjoy the day!”

Competitor Stories – Richard Gibbs


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Richard Gibbs who took part in the Atwells Martin Lettings Westonbirt Triathlon with us.

“The bottom line is after two heart attacks and the years slipping away, I wanted to make a difference – a REAL difference to myself, my life and ultimately others!

I also have ‘bathophobia’, which means I swim with my eyes closed and can’t put my head under water. This is a crippling fear, so I met it head on at Westonbirt!

I have completed a couple of novice triathlons and was event leading at Bucks, only to be sent the wrong way! Swimming still terrifies me – the furthest I’d ever swam was 200m before I took part in Monday’s event. So the 400m swim leg on Monday gave me sleepless nights.  Open water will be the next big aim….. EVEN SCARIER!!!

I went from a slow running fatty, to setting up #RunTime2016 (see here for more details and how much I raised) and losing 35+ kg. I eventually completed a few duathlons and I found them a tad easy, so wanted to push myself – the greatest rewards are often at the other side of your deepest darkest fear. I really tested the theory to the full at Westonbirt!”

Well done Richard! DB Max are proud to be part of your journey!


Competitor Stories – Gareth Cannings


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Gareth Cannings who took part in the February Chilly 10K with us.

“Our son Jack has a life limiting illness called Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). This is a muscle wasting disease which will eventually leave Jack in a wheelchair full time.

We are trying to fundraise £50,000 so that we can adapt and extend our house to allow Jack as much independence movement around the house as possible. We want to make the whole of downstairs wheelchair friendly and also put in a through the floor lift so he can have a bedroom and wet room upstairs. This will provide him with a reasonable quality of life whilst its available to him.  Jacks illness has proved to be extremely aggressive so time really is of the essence.

My friend (Mark Gallagher) and I decided to get fit and raise money by running, as well as other sponsored events. We chose DB Max Chilly 10K as a marker to gauge our fitness and I had set myself the target of completing the run in a 1 hour. I was elated that I ran this in 57minutes and 35 seconds. This has now given me the motivation to keep going and carry on doing sponsored runs to help raise more money for Jack.

We have created a Facebook page called ‘Jack just wants to be’ and this explains in full Jacks story and all the events we have coming up. We would really appreciate any likes, shares and donations so that we can give our little boy a better quality of life.”


Competitor Stories – Dave Hyde


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Dave Hyde who took part in the Westonbirt 10K with us last year.

“I have been running for 20 months now, slowly building up to a standard which has well exceeded my expectations so I am really enjoying it.

Last year I decided that I want to run but also fund raise and Cancer Research is very close to my heart, having lost my Dad a couple of  years ago to cancer. This hit me very hard and also lost a good friend at a very young age to Testicular cancer.

I started out in January at a Bath Mud trial and have completed many events last year (14 in total). The Great South Run 10 miler was my target for the year but out of stupidity I entered the Bristol Half Marathon which was a massive success for me personally and very rewarding.

I raised £360 plus tax relief last year which has really pleased me and I have some great support of local friends also tirelessly competing and raising money

I have entered Bath half with a silver place raising money for the Forever Friends appeal at Bath Royal united Hospital.

I also plan to as a minimum raise awareness for Its in the Bag. A south west based Testicular Cancer charity which I supported at Bristol Mo Run.”


Competitor Stories – Phil Collard


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Phil Collard who took part in the Titan Weston with us last year.

“I was diagnosed with cancer at 18 months old and given only a 50/50 chance of survival. Thankfully, clearly, I did survive and made a full recovery to all intents and purpose.

Aside from regular hospital check-ups (I was breaking new ground a bit since the operation that saved me had only been in existence for a few months prior to my having benefited from it), my childhood was pretty much normal.

In my early teens, however, it was discovered that the radiotherapy I’d had as a baby had weakened my right hip such that it effectively broke itself and, for a moment, it looked as if I’d never walk again.

They pinned my broken hip back together and I recovered again – returning to cycling (which I’d enjoyed throughout my teens to that point) and, ultimately, to Motorsport where I competed for a few years and even became a national champion.

Having had the hip operation in my teens, however, it was hugely open to becoming arthritic – which it did – and by the time I was 33 (by which time I was married to Lisa and had a son, Angus), it was so bad that I could hardly walk and, again, a horrible conversation with a specialist resulted in me preparing to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

A genius surgeon had other ideas and said that we may as well try a hip replacement – the result couldn’t be any worse than life in a wheelchair, after all… and thankfully, the result was so much better and he really gave me my life back.

I remember him telling me that my new hip would last between 15 and 20 years and I remember replying that I’d rather live life to the full with it and have it last 15 years as opposed to protecting it by doing nothing and having it last 20 years.

And so I did – I returned to cycling and then (against medical advice, to be honest, since running is a strict no-no) Triathlon and dragged Lisa, Angus and my second son, Evert (named after my hip surgeon) all over the place as my loyal support crew.

In August 2014 I completed Ironman Sweden which, I guess, is the pinnacle of my sporting achievements but, in addition, I have since:

– cycled John O’Groats to Land’s End in 7 days – unsupported

– completed the Thames Marathon 14km swim

– completed a 265 mile one day bike ride from Cardiff to Buckingham and back

And I’m always on the lookout for what challenge to do next which is why Titan Weston caught my eye… especially since it’s so local to where I live.

As a post script, Lisa and I set up a charity (Honeybones) to educate, support and inspire people (of all ages) who have conditions affecting their bones and joints – notably, we were extremely proud to be able to assist a young lad with Perthes Disease to buy a sports wheelchair.

Lastly, I published a book about my Ironman journey (On Days Like These which has been sold around the world”.

Competitor Stories – Michael Tighe


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Michael Tighe who took part in the Westonbirt 10K with us last year.

“I had a brain tumour which was removed successfully but since that operation, 14hrs worth, I have suffered from chronic headaches. A lot of the time all I can do is stay in bed in the dark until the headache reduces in severity. I have had my current headache since November 2002.

One day in 2012 I was out walking and it chucked it down with rain so I ran home. I realised that with this lower level of headache running did not increase the pain and that perhaps running was a possibility.

I took up running with the aid of a personal trainer who was also a good friend. Slowly but steadily I was able to run further and faster. I got stronger physically, fitter and with this new positive element in my life better able to cope with dreadful levels of pain.

The feeling of freedom I get when I’m out running is fantastic. I feel more alive and know I am achieving something that day whether it be a 4km or a 10km the achievement stands. I relish the time when my headache is low enough to let me run and make the most of it.

Negative thoughts are destructive. In my situation focusing on the positives, however small, spurs me on and gets me through. The medals I have gained from runs like the beautiful Westonbirt Christmas 10k signify achievements. Challenges met and overcome and days spent mixing with great people of like mind. I have 18 medals to date and when I have to spend three or four days in bed with a high intensity headache they are on the wall and knowing that helps me bear what I must.

Running set me free, allowed me to run in our amazing countryside, breath in the fresh air and get fit. It gave me a new lease of life. Whatever level you run at you are running against yourself to attain your goals and achieve that next PB.”



Competitor Stories – Julie Hyde


A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Julie Hyde who took part in The Chilly 10K with us last year.

“Our amazing little boy Freddie was born in May 2011 and as far as we were aware he was perfectly healthy. 6 weeks later a heart murmur was found and when he was 4 months old he was diagnosed with a life threatening congenital heart condition called “tetralogy of fallot”. Our lives fell apart at this point but thanks to the amazing doctors, surgeons and nurses at Bristol Children’s Hospital Freddie has now had 2 open heart surgeries and is leading a normal life. He is still monitored regularly and could need surgery later on in life but at the moment he is fit and well.

As a way of saying thank you my husband and I began to participate in different sporting challenges to raise money for the amazing Grand Appeal Charity. For myself it was running races and my husband multi sport challenges like duathlons and triathlons.

The castle Coombe “chilly” events mean that my husband and I can compete in different events on the same day in the same place. We love the closed, traffic free circuit and it also allows our little boy to either cheer us along at the side of the track or keep warm inside and still watch from the great viewing station. For me November was my 5th “chilly” and my husband’s 3rd. We continue to raise money and also show our now 5yr old son that exercise is a part of everyday life and how enjoyable these events are. We are determined to stay fit and healthy for him and we will both enjoy running across the finish line with Freddie as we do at every event.”


Competitor Stories – Paula Watts


 A regular look at some of the inspirational stories from some of our amazing DB Maxers……

This week it’s Paula Watts who took part in the Malmesbury Carnival 10k with us last year.

“In September 2015 our gorgeous daughter Heidi was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia at the age of 2.  She has undergone 9 months of intensive chemotherapy and is now in the maintenance stage of treatment which is the final stage of treatment.  This will continue until Feb 2018 and although she still has chemo daily, this is administered orally so can be given at home.  The only IV chemo she needs is on a monthly outpatient basis, so this stage should be much lighter touch from a hospital point of view.  We are immensely proud of how well Heidi has coped with everything that has been thrown at her including numerous blood transfusions, lumbar punctures, general anaesthetics, heart echo, steroids and of course intense chemotherapy.

Now that we can start to get some semblance of normality and routine in our lives my husband Ian and I are in a bid to get fitter and healthier and back in shape.  The aim is to do a series of fitness events/challenges over a 9 month period which included the DB Max Malmesbury 10K because that’s the length of time Heidi underwent intense chemo, and all the side effects that that entailed.  In doing these we hope to raise money for four charities that have supported (and will continue to support us) through to Feb 2018.

Also we have had a story published in the CLIC Sargent website recently which features photos taken from the two DB Max events that we’ve done.”





Competitor Stories – Robbie Newton

 It’s turn of Robbie Newton to tell his story this week…

“I got the Charity bug back in 2005 and have not looked back! I wanted a bit more of a challenge for 2016, so came up with the Land, Water and Air challenge which was going to be The London Marathon, Tough Mudder and Zipwire in North Wales. As the running got going, I found myself booking more and more runs and ended up being 26 events, culminating in The Westonbirt House Christmas 10k! More than £8000 has been raised this year so I am dead chuffed. All money will be going to Macmillan Cancer Support whilst also raising awareness for local charity “Its In The Bag” in memory of my good friend Chris Penelhum who died of testicular cancer in 2013

 I wanted to up the ante for 2017, so have managed to once again get a place in the 2017 London Marathon, however I will be wearing a green morph suit this time around! I do love a challenge!”