Woodkirk Academy staff and pupils boost teacher’s mammoth charity challenge

editorial image

A Woodkirk Academy teacher has been busy taking on a mammmoth sporting challenge in a bid to raise vital funds for charity.

Luke Zwalf, head of year nine and Politics Co-ordinator at the school, took on the challenge of the Ironman 70.3 in Staffordshire – a gruelling event consisting of swimming for 1.2 miles in a lake, cycling up and down the Staffordshire hills for 56 miles and then running a half marathon.

Luke and his best friend Martin took on the challenge to raise funds for the charity Team Inspiration, after Martin’s daughter Elin died aged nine after a four-year battle against Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

Luke said: “When I was first approached about doing this I had no idea what Ironman was and, although a keen runner, had never shown any interest in triathlons.

“However, the reason for the change in heart was simple –Elin.

“She and my daughter (who was born a few weeks apart) had grown up together and her loss to us all was and remains great.

“Elin was the bravest person I will ever have the joy to know and she inspired Martin and me to train six days a week.

“We strained muscles and constantly felt tired.”

Luke said that after mentioning his challenge in school, he was inundated with donations – and that he is now planning on taking on a full version of the event, along with Martin, next year.

He added: “When I first mentioned my challenge, little did I know how it would develop.

“Our fundraising currently stands at nearly £3,000 – and over half of that has been raised through school.

“Our gratitude to Woodkirk students, staff and families is beyond words; Thank you.”