Weather Icon 8.4°C Rain
Former Ironman triathlete gears up for Christie Challenge
Friday 26th August 2016 @ 13:36 by Adam Higgins

Former Ironman Triathlete Gavin Holtorp is back on his bike for a challenge that means the world to him.

He’s cycling 100 miles in next month’s The Christie Manchester 100km, but the Simmondley 46-year-old isn’t hitting the saddle for trophies and titles.

Gavin’s doing it to raise money for the team at the world famous cancer specialist hospital that has done so much for his wife Karen.

The learning and development teacher said: “It’s to say thank you for the amazing support Karen has received.”

The last few months haven’t been easy for the popular couple.

Karen has Stage Four malignant melanoma, a condition that was triggered following tests for a mole on her back 18 months ago.

Since her diagnosis Karen has had four tumours, three operations and 35 doses of radiotherapy.

Tomorrow (Friday), Karen, who is a media relations manager for the Co-op Bank, is in Salford Royal Infirmary facing another operation to remove a tumour on her brain.

Gavin was one of the North West’s top names in the tough world of Ironman Triathalons.

He faced the best in a sport that pits competitors at open water swimming, road race cycling and running.

Gavin last raced four years ago but decided to get back in the saddle just weeks ago after thinking of ways to support the hospital that has always been there for them.

“I decided about four weeks ago, it was a snap decision,” he said.

Training started immediately with return rides up the Snake Pass and Castleton’s Mam Tor and the gruelling Winnat’s Pass to build up his stamina.

Gavin’s confident of completing the 100 miles.

“Cheshire is pretty flat,” he said: “Fifty to 70 miles with the hills around here is equivalent to the 100 miles there.”

Gavin’s only target now is raising as much money as he can for Christie’s.

Family and friends have sponsored him to the tune of £1,100, but he would love to raise a few hundred pounds more.

Gavin has set up a JustGiving page. If you want to contribute, go to

• The ride starts and finishes at  Wythenshawe Park and heads to Northwich, taking in Delamere Forest and Nantwich before heading back to the park via Middlewich.

As many as 3,000 riders could be taking part, together raising a six figure sum for the Christie Hospital.

All, like Gavin, having the best reason in the world to be there.


By David Jones