Hospice consultant Mark Howard will be taking his love of fitness to the next level when he takes on the London Triathlon to raise money for local people who are seriously ill.
Mark, who is a Consultant in Palliative Care Medicine at Saint Francis Hospice, has chosen to complete the toughest challenge – the Olympic distance – on Sunday 8th August.
The event will start with a 1500m swim in the Thames at The Royal Victoria Docks, followed by a 40km bike ride and finally a 10k run past some of the capital’s most famous landmarks.
“I have seen the tremendous difference that good quality palliative care can make to patients, families and colleagues. For the last 12 years I have dedicated myself to this work to improve the standard of care for those with terminal diagnoses. Like so many of my colleagues I find the work extremely rewarding but it can be sometimes challenging. One of the ways that helps keep up my resilience with the job is fitness” said Mark.
“I took part in some shorter distance triathlons in 2019 and I really enjoyed the challenge and the buzz during race day.
“It is a real test of stamina and fitness.
“I went on do to my first marathon in 2019. I’m keen to progress to the next level which is an Olympic distance triathlon.”
Having worked at the Hospice in Havering-atte-Bower for almost five years, Mark is very aware that the charity depends on fundraising to deliver its specialist end of life care services and was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’d really like to give something back and help the Hospice continue to deliver good quality end of life care to those in outer North East London.
“The pandemic has been extremely tough on charities. At Saint Francis Hospice, we only get 27% of our annual budget from the NHS – the rest we normally have to fundraise ourselves!
“With the disruption to our fundraising activities due to Covid, the Hospice faces some really tough financial challenges.”
Being a doting dad to a 15-month-old daughter and juggling work, makes training a challenge but Mark is making the most of the Trifarm in Chelmsford and plans to step up his race day preparation as the event approaches.
“It’s hard to find the time in the week for training because we have a 15-month-old daughter, and I don’t want to miss too much time with her at the weekends,” said Mark.
“I will need to start waking up earlier in the mornings in the weeks leading up the event to fit in some bike and running training.
“I’m really looking forward to the general buzz and competition! It’s also been a very long time since I was in London due to the pandemic.”
To sponsor Mark, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-howard34
If you’re feeling inspired, visit https://www.sfh.org.uk/london-triathlon and sign up for this exciting challenge!