Launchpad supporter is taking on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge with two replacement hips

Launchpad supporter, Gary Head, will be pushing his body to the limit by taking on the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge this September, having undergone two hip replacements in 2015 and 2017– and hopes to raise £2,000 to help prevent homelessness in Reading.

Gary – who lives in Caversham – has already completed the Reading Half Marathon in Autumn 2020, followed by Stoptober and Movember, and has raised just over £5,200 for Launchpad to date. He’s now facing his biggest challenge yet – taking on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in under 12 hours. The challenge will see Gary and his colleagues from AXA complete 24 miles, which includes an ascent of 5,200 feet. The challenge will be a real test for Gary, who has not participated in a physical event of this level for a number of years, or since having his hip operations.

“In terms of big events, I’ve done the UK Three Peaks before – but that challenge was spread across three days and that was about ten years ago – and I’ve done five marathons and over 20 half marathons. But having recently turned 54 and with my replacement hips I think my marathon days are well and truly over, and the Yorkshire Three Peaks will be a real challenge for me physically. But I know that the body can do more than people think if you have the focus and mental strength to push on – so I am just hoping that the knees, hips and back hold up,” said Gary.

He is now focusing on training before the event, which takes place in early September: “To be honest, I need to step my training up in a major way as I haven’t done too much just yet – the challenge is not going to be a walk in the park and I need to get some miles into my legs pronto. There aren’t that many mountains to practice on in Reading, but that’s no excuse!”

Gary says the driving force behind his fundraising efforts is supporting local people who are vulnerable, saying: ”It’s really difficult nowadays to make ends meet and sometimes people just need a bit of a helping hand to get them back onto the right path. I want to make a difference for my local community. What Launchpad do is so valuable and important. They support local people to work through their problems so they can pay their rent and their bills, and avoid ending up on the streets.”

You can donate to Gary’s Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge by visiting his JustGiving page.

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