Eventer Jonty Evans has tackled another impressive goal in his bid to make a full recovery from the serious head injury he suffered last year.
On Sunday (21 July) he completed the Heythrop Hunt Triathlon at Eyford House, Stow-on-the-Wold – a 400m open water swim, 20km cycle and 5km cross-country run held to raise money for the Midlands Air Ambulance – alongside his great friend Michael Knight.
Jonty said: “My brother-in-law does triathlons, and I thought, ‘why can’t I?’ I hadn’t done one before, but he came down from Manchester and took me open water swimming at the Cotswold Water Park; I’ve got a bike, and I’ve always done lots of running.
“It was the perfect one to do because I felt comfortable doing it – I knew most of the people there [Jonty has acted as field master for the Cotswold, a neighbouring hunt to the Heythrop] and it was fun and very friendly.”
Jonty said he was surprised he was not exhausted by the swim, in the lake at Eyford House which is home to Serena and Rupert Prest and Serena’s mother Charlotte Heber-Percy.
“I did go quite slowly, but I couldn’t go any faster,” he said. “Then I was gobsmacked when I got off the bike that my legs wouldn’t straighten up to run – they seemed to be stuck in a cycling position!
“I enjoyed the cycling phase, round the lovely Heythrop Saturday hunting country, and then the run got better as I went along – I felt better and better as my legs got moving. I think it was more difficult because it took place on fields, rather than the completely level surface of a road.”
Jonty, who was in a coma for six weeks last year after his fall from his crowd-funded top ride Cooley Rorkes Drift, explained that, while he does not find the “physicality” of running difficult, the locomotion is hard.
“I am having a lot of help from Hartpury College, and they have an anti-gravity treadmill on which you can reduce your weight setting to allow you to train without overloading while you recover from injury,” he said. “I started at 40% of my bodyweight and am now at 85%.”
The rider's family has thanked the eventing community for its support and good wishes
The unusually hairy competitor kept up with runners from the 7km to the 9km marker, where she was eventually caught
Jonty is aiming to do the Great North Run on 8 September, alongside Michael Knight and Kathryn Nankervis from Hartpury College. Each of the three has chosen a charity for which they are running – Headway, the David Foster Injured Riders’ Fund and Alzheimers UK.
“Something good has got to come out of my accident, and if it is raising money for worthy causes, so be it,” said Jonty. “Claire Lomas is a great friend of mine and if she can do it, so can I. We are going to wear green tops and are currently looking for really good running tops that we can print names on to, if anyone has any ideas!”
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