Nottingham Forest fans set to cross the finish line again against MND

Nottingham Forest fan and avid triathlete Sam Perkins will continue his battle with motor neurone disease in his final triathlon next month.

After a huge journey of more than 40 triathlons, Sam, who suffers from motor neurone disease, hopes to have one last hurrah before hanging up his running shoes, swimsuit and bike when he takes part in the Outlaw Half Ironman in Nottingham next month .

Diagnosed with MND in 2019, the 40-year-old man from East Leake is confined to a wheelchair and relies on a ventilator. However, with the support of friends and family, Sam will complete the daunting but popular challenge on May 15 at Holme Pierrepont, about 5 miles from the city centre.

Sam, whose original goal was to resolve the incident in the summer of 2020, was towed on a boat through a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike leg and 13.1-mile run.

After delays due to the pandemic, Sam’s condition has improved, and for safety reasons, the modified attempt will be reduced to running on a five-lap course around the rowing lake at the National Aquatic Center.

Sam will raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Charity, which Sam started with his wife Emma shortly after his MND diagnosis. The charity funds research to eventually find a cure for the disease and has raised more than £75,000 to date. As a collective effort, the SAM team will have plenty of support throughout the day, with Stephen Cobb, stepfather Nick Rollin and stepbrother Tom all ready to complete the challenge with him.

Sam said: “Steve was about 13 when I first started running in the tri-club. As she got older, I got fitter, so we were progressing at about the same rate. She was probably me in the triathlon. The most determined person I’ve ever met in the race. She replaced the charity trio at the last minute, including a 5-mile swim in Lake Windermere before cycling to Nottingham for the marathon. Steph is a girl who doesn’t know how to give up .”

Sam Perkins, 38, from East Leake, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in March.

Nick introduced Sam to triathlon with a pint of wine on Christmas Eve 2009, and will complete a 56-mile cycling course on the same roads that Sam trained on his bike.

Sam’s first triathlon was in 2010 in East Leake, the village where he grew up, where he met his wife, Emma, ​​and returned after an MND verdict. The swim took place at the local leisure centre and he wrapped up the triathlon club chairman for Leicester City fans in his beloved Nottingham Forest shirt.

Sam said: “I’m not your lifelong athlete because I’ve always been active. In my 20s, I was more interested in going to bars. I’m a smoker, about 18 stone, and not very fit. But When I crossed that finish line, it was a sense of accomplishment.

“Looking back, it was also a big moment for moms and dads to see their son pursue something related to fitness and stick to it. I just want to do it again and again and by the end of the first year, I Have done seven or eight sprint triathlons and lost about five and a half stones.”

Sam Perkins imagines running.
Sam Perkins imagines running.

MND was diagnosed after suffering breathing problems lasting five months that eventually led to pneumonia. He was immediately placed on a ventilator and within a few months he lost the ability to walk and had difficulty using his hands.

He explained: “My friends said: ‘What is that? What does it mean?’ I don’t think I fully understand the severity of the diagnosis and how many options are there…well, there really isn’t a choice. The disease will do What it will do, I just have to deal with. So, when I get the chance, I want to do triathlons again.”

Original plans were thwarted by the Covid-19 outbreak – mass participation was canceled, and as someone with a partial respiratory illness, Sam was classified as vulnerable – how did he find the will to continue the challenge?

Sam said: “I owe it to Emma. I remember sitting in my hospital bed a few days after my diagnosis and feeling like life was terrible. I saw all these problems and she just said: ‘If things need to change, let’s go Do. Whatever you need, we’ll make it happen. At that moment I thought: “This thing doesn’t need to stop me. “I repurposed that triathlon mentality where you have the ability to push yourself and realize the biggest limit is in your head. Just changed that day. I thought: ‘Whatever I want to do I’ll try to do anything. If I can’t, at least I’ve tried.'”

Sam added: “The first day I walked into the three-man club in East Leek, I realised how supportive the environment was. It was one of the reasons I fell in love with the sport. Great ambition to play once. To race and encourage others as they run by, see my old three-man club running the feed station at the top of the lake. Just to be in that environment.

“I’m almost sure I cry for a number of reasons: to do something I thought was taken away by accident, something that gave me so much self-worth, and something I always look back on. One of my greatest accomplishments. It’s going to be a big day.”

Support Sam to finish his triathlon by donating to his JustGiving page here.

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