He lost five stone in weight to become an ‘Iron Man’ triathlete, but for his latest charity challenge, Ealand man Steve Hipkiss will cycle 220 miles coast to coast.
The lorry driver will be joined by his pal Gary Hirst of West Butterwick for the ride on Saturday, to take the tough, east to west, route from Cleethorpes to Harlech.
Funds they raise by sponsorship will help the work of the Isle Animal Rescue, run by Steve’s friends at Croft House Kennels, West Stockwith.
“Neither of us have done anything on this scale before,” said 6ft 3ins Steve, 47, who claims to have a reputation for ‘getting lost’ on far simpler, shorter bike rides.
But after slimming down to 15 stone from 20 to complete the Iron Man challenge last month, he is much more confident in tackling daunting tasks, and seeing them through.
“I decided it was time to get fitter and everything stemmed from that,” he said. “I cycled to get weight off before I started running, and was the worst swimmer ever seen not long ago. This time last year I was unable to swim five lengths of Epworth pool. Now, after some coaching, I can do two-and-a-half miles’ front crawl. So I’m pretty sure we can do the ride on Saturday and raise some cash for the Isle Rescue that has just had its first year anniversary.”
The pair will set off at 4am and aim to reach Harlech in North Wales by dusk.
“People are really getting behnd us on this which is fantastic,” added Steve. “Anyone who would like to add their support can donate by PayPal on the website www.islerescue.co.uk
Sponsor forms are also available at Isle sports shop Metres to Miles on the High Street.
“We will be cycling against the wind I expect but we chose the direction to make the ride harder,” he added.
His Iron Man triathlon challenge was completed in Zurich., Switzerland, and took place following a text conversation with a friend he met at the running track.
“It gave me a goal but was a big thing to take on. I’m proud to have done it and my medal is now mounted.
“Weight loss and improved fitness has improved my life massively. My circle of friends has got bigger and I have no time ever to sit on the settee watching television ,” said Steve.
The bike ride will be no mean achievement, he continued. “Hopefully the weather will be decent for us but even if it isn’t we’ll press on with our plans.
“My friends at the Isle Rescue are doing great work but they struggle to pay vets bills, which is their biggest expense. They rely on adoption fees, donations and fundraising.”
Mandy Lythe, who runs the Isle Rescue with Caroline Morrell and Sarah Drewery said: “In our first year we have re-homed 70 dogs and 42 cats.
“We’re grateful to Steve and Gary, and everyone else who supports our work.”