Tom dons a dog suit to take on demanding Tri-Challenge for charity

Tom Ward is giving for doing three demanding charity challenges in as many months

Thirty-seven is too young to be having a mid-life crisis, but that’s the excuse Tom Ward is giving for doing three demanding charity challenges in as many months.

Tom, from Meersbrook, Sheffield is taking part in a Tri-Challenge – a sky dive in August, the Great North Run – dressed in a dog suit – in September, and the Hell Up North half marathon in October.

And he’s hoping to raise £400 for his charity of choice – Sheffield-based Support Dogs.

Tom is a sales and solutions manager for ESP Projects, a computer company in Sheffield, which has provided IT support to the national assistance dog charity for a number of years. Support Dogs is current’s ESP’s charity of the year, and staff have already raised £3,800 on its behalf.

“I must be crazy – not many people decide to do three pretty big challenges in the space of three months – there’s definitely an element of mid-life crisis involved,” said  Tom, who’s in training, doing a couple of runs a week and plenty of gym work.

“But while I’m not as fit as when I was much younger, I’m still reasonably active and have always played lots of sport. I’d decided I wanted to do a couple of runs this year, and it made sense to do them for a fantastic charity like Support Dogs. I’ve seen them grow and develop over the years and I’m massively impressed by what they do.”

While the  Hell Up North ‘extreme mud run’ in Delamare Forest in Cheshire sounds the most  demanding  – it’s described as ‘the toughest half marathon in the UK’, Tom reckons the efforts of running 13 miles in the Great North Run a hot and sweaty dog outfit could present the biggest challenge.

Support Dogs provides and trains assistance dogs for children with autism and adults with epilepsy and physical disability, enabling them to lead safer, more independent lives.

Support Dogs’ fundraising manager Danny Anderson, said:  “I’ve been trying to strong-arm Tom into running in a dog suit for us for a long time, so I’m delighted he’s finally doing it. We’re extremely grateful to ESP for their fantastic support this year, and of course to Tom for his superb efforts on our behalf.”


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