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Phuket expats successfully complete races, raise money for Stu Clark

PHUKET: Phuket-based Steve Coleman might have not completed the 250km Tour de Bintan bike race in the world’s fastest time on Sunday, but after a series of unfortunate mishaps – including being stuck in a high gear most of the race – he was happy to complete it at all.


Claire Connell

Tuesday 19 November 2013, 05:38PM


Steve Coleman, centre, with David Campion, left, and Dan Ogunshakin.
Steve Coleman, centre, with David Campion, left, and Dan Ogunshakin.

Steve decided to take part in the cycling race to raise money for friend Stu Clark,who was left paralysed after a motorbike crash earlier this year.

Friend Russell “Distance” Russell also signed up for three sporting events to help raise cash – he successfully completed the Bangkok Marathon on November 17. So far the duo have raised around B150,000.

Steve completed the race in Indonesia in 9 hours and 43 minutes, and said was left “knackered” at the finish line.

Around 40kms before the end of day one of the race, his back gears stopped working, leaving him with only two gears. No-one was able to fix the bike, so he also did the entire day two race with only two gears, including parts of it riding through torrential monsoon rain.

“Then I got a puncture on the second day and my chain kept falling off – it fell off about six times. The fact that I finished at all.... I was happy, given the circumstances. It wasn’t easy because I was in a high gear all the time; it was a bit of a nightmare.

“[Crossing the finish line] was fantastic. I felt like it was a good achievement, given it was way beyond anything I’d done before. I was knackered all week, but I’m not sure if that was from the drinking afterwards or the biking.”

He plans to enter the Tour de Bintan again next year, this time entering a more competitive category. Former Phuket residents David Campion (9 hours 27 mins, also raising money for Stu) and Dan Ogunshakin (9 hrs 50 mins, raising money for cancer research) also completed the race.

Around B50,000 has been raised on the fundraising website set up for Stu, but with people also donating to Russell and Steve personally, a total of B150,000 has been raised to date.

Meanwhile, Russell managed to complete the Bangkok Marathon in a time of 5 hours 20 minutes.

“I wanted to get sub five hours, but in the last 8-10km it really started to hit me and I started to feel it. It was the first time I’ve ever done a marathon, and in terms of getting over the line in one piece... I’m super chuffed.”

Russell will also compete in the Laguna Phuket Triathlon this Sunday (November 24), and the Challenge Phuket 70.3 on December 1.

Stu, who was the general manager of Coral Seekers, suffered several fractures to his spine in April this year when he crashed his motorbike after he avoided a cat on the road.

He was left paralysed from the chest down and has limited use in his hands and arms.

Stu is covered by medical insurance as well as social security, which covers his care to a basic level.

The money raised from Russell and Steve’s fundraising efforts will go toward ongoing care, including special physiotherapy, occupational therapy, a special electric bed, and potentially stem cell treatment in Bangkok in the future.

To donate directly, visit the fund-raising website.

 

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