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31 Triathlons in 31 Days and over £12,000 raised for Prostate Cancer UK

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“I am a prostate cancer survivor and then within eight months I’m doing this challenge. I guess that’s what makes it a great story”. That’s how Rugby Triathlon Club member Russ Cager reflects on his challenge of completing a standard distance triathlon every day during January, raising over £12,000 for Prostate Cancer UK in the process.

Cager was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in 2023 after undergoing a PSA Test in December 2022 and, after his treatment, a Facebook request saw him raise an initial £750 for Prostate Cancer UK. 

“December 2022 I had a PSA test that I went voluntarily to and that was quite high, so January, February, March and April were further tests that were CT scans, bone scans, biopsies, blood tests and a diagnosis in April of you’ve got prostate cancer.” he explained. “So, I was asked ‘what do you want to do?’ and I said, ‘we’ll get rid of it.’ Four weeks later I was in theatre having it out.  
 
“Around my birthday I did a post on Facebook and said, ‘don’t send me flowers, and cards, donate to Prostate Cancer UK’ and doing nothing I raised £750.” 

‘Doing Nothing’ and raising money then sparked an interest in Cager completing a challenge to help raise even more funds for a charity so personal to him. With a triathlon background, having completed IRONMANs in Barcelona and Frankfurt, the idea was born for Cager to complete 31 triathlons in 31 days. 

He said: “I felt a bit guilty like I should do something, I felt like it was a good thing to do. I talked to my mate who’s a personal trainer at David Lloyd in Rugby and told him what I wanted to do. I said ‘I want to do a triathlon a day and I’d like to do it in January, so I need to get fit between now and then do it’ and he said ‘it’s doable but it’ll be tough’ and I said ‘if it’s doable let's do it’ and that’s how I sowed the seed.” 

With five month’s training and lots of ‘head scratching’ on how to prepare for a 31-day-long event, Russ took on his challenge. But he wasn’t alone as he received a lot of support from his triathlon club and the local community.  

“It has reduced me to tears the amount of support I’ve had,” He explained. “I had over 50 people involved either taking part in a swim, on a Wattbike or a road session and running in the evenings with me. Their support has been invaluable.” 

Now that his challenge is all over, Cager reflects on how differently it was to how he thought it would go.  

He said: “I think I was in the right mindset. I was very positive about it all. I thought that week one would be all adrenaline, happy-go-lucky honeymoon-period, week two I might start thinking where we are going and then week three would be the lowest point. Week four I’m on the home run let’s crack on. 

“It was nothing like that. Each day we had some positive news or some positive reaction to get me through.  

“It wasn’t until about week three that I started to feel a bit fatigued, and the endurance and the enormity of the event kicked in and the last week was definitely the hardest. I think my body was saying ‘you’re coming to the end and I’m not going to give you anymore, I’m going to give you enough to get to the end’. The fact that I got up every day and did a 10km run is a bit crazy and add a 25mile bike ride and a mile swim on top of that is even more crazy.  

“On 1 August, I couldn’t even swim 200m, I hadn’t trained in such a long time. But I soon got into a rhythm with that and ended up doing PBs in the event. I ended up saving seven minutes on a 1,500m swim.” 

The challenge proved an overwhelming success with Cager receiving national media attention as well as surpassing his initial fundraising target. The biggest impact for him was the amount of people the challenge encouraged to get tested.  

He said: “Three or four people have said they’ve had a diagnosis of some kind off the back of it. I’ve had numerous people tell me they’ve told family members to get tested all because I brought this topic of conversation up, because I am doing this stupid thing that people talk about and I’m doing it for charity that people start to talk about.  

“People are then talking about it and realise that it can easily be done, but it could save your life.People are getting tested so it’s been a tremendous success.   

“The whole message was to get tested because you don’t want to go through what I went through. It’s just a blood test but because people don’t have symptoms they don’t go, but a blood test with no symptoms will save your life. The chances are it’s too late when you get symptoms.”  

For further information and support involving prostate cancer, please visit the Prostate Cancer UK website.

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