Personal trainer Elliot puts his stamina to test

Published on: 02 May 2017

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A PERSONAL trainer from Downend will put his stamina to the test when he embarks on a gruelling five-day cycle ride to Paris.

Elliot Cooke is taking a team of seven on his journey to raise money for two charities - the British Heart Foundation and Off the Record Bristol, which helps young adults with mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.

The 20-year-old, who is based at Impact Gym in Staple Hill, got the bug for charity work after setting up a gym challenge back in November which raised £800 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

But he decided he would up the ante by pushing himself even further.

"The planning has been quite similar but the gym challenge wasn't as intense as what we're doing this time," he said.

"It will be a real challenge for all of us which is the whole point as we didn't want it to be easy. We will be averaging 80-90 miles a day so that will be quite tough."

Elliot's team mates are Chuck Knight and Andy Li, both from Emersons Green, Louise Towler, from Fishponds, Elliot's brother Alex, from Downend, Dan Brady, from North Common and Adrian Cunnington, from Weston-super-Mare.

Elliot said: "I put the team together straight after my other challenge had finished. I knew everyone on the team before apart from Andy but not many of the others knew each other. I put a post out on Facebook and asked people to email me saying why they wanted to take part.

"We've got a real mix of people. Chuck and Andy are very keen cyclists and cycle most days. Louise is training for Ironman so she's a keen cyclist but we're all pretty fit.

"I do most of my cycling training at weekends and so far have been doing about 40 miles at a time. I also box and do a lot of training for that. It's a nightmare getting us all together to train so we do a lot of separate rides however we have some set dates coming up where we will all meet up as a big group."

Elliot said it was a group decision to support the British Heart Foundation but he had a personal reason for wanting to raise money for Off the Record Bristol.

"I've struggled with mental health and had to use the charity several years ago when I attended cognitive behaviour therapy sessions run by them. I can confidently say the work they do is amazing. It's a small charity but they do a lot of work and offer a lot of services, which is great."

The team will leave Impact Gym on June 19 at 7am and will travel down to Dover, covering 215 miles and taking two and a half days.

They will then relax for the 90 minute ferry ride before starting day three where they will pedal to Berck.

After an overnight stay, day four will see the group covering 85 miles to Beauvais before the final stint on day five where they will cycle into Paris, heading for the Eiffel Tower which will serve as their finishing line.

After a well-earned two days in the French capital, the team will make their way back via bus and Eurotunnel with their bikes carried by their support vehicle.

Elliot has set up an internet funding page for donations but is also organising a series of events, including raffles and pub quizzes, which will pay for the team's expenses.

Elliot said: "I'm also running bootcamps at the gym every Sunday from 10-11am and the money raised will go towards our accommodation. We didn't want to ask people for money which will cover our expenses as we want it all to go to charity."

To find out more about Elliot's bootcamps search for Pursuit Fitness Bristol on Facebook.

If you would like to donate to the team, please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/pursuitfitness

You can find out more about the charity Off the Record Bristol by visiting www.ofrbristol.org.uk

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