Al Ditheridge is an inspiration to many. He works with adults with special needs, helping them engage with the community and often taking some of them swimming, cycling and to the gym. He also fundraises tirelessly for PXE International after his eldest son was diagnosed with the condition just over four years ago. This is a rare genetic condition which can affect the skin, vascular system and eyes. Once the family got to grips a little with what PXE had in store for their son, he decided to get active, raise awareness of the condition and fundraise for this fantastic charity who continue to support and guide them through the illness.
Having only taken up sport three years ago, he has been cycling, running, swimming and doing all manner of adventurous activities to raise awareness and fundraise to help tame PXE. And by default he has inspired (although he would say “dragged”!) people along with him to participate in many of his challenges!
1.What are your goals for the next 12 months?
To become fitter and more able to do the things I aspire to do, both mentally and physically.
2.What inspired you to become involved in triathlon/running/cycling?
My inspiration came from my eldest son. He has a very rare, genetic disease called Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum, (PXE). It affects approximately 1/50,000 people! He was diagnosed a little over four years ago which was a complete shock and horror moment for myself and my wife. The disease effects the skin, cardiovascular system, and the eyes. There currently is no cure! As a parent I feel compelled to help my son in whatever way I can and so since his diagnosis I have been trying to raise funds to enable important research into the disease to help find a way of “taming” PXE.
3.What do you look for in an event?
I do like an event that presents a challenge and is, in its own right, unique. Not just another half marathon or triathlon. This could be an interesting course, a unique setting or just simply a really good competitor buzz!
4.What advice do you have for people who are thinking of getting involved in triathlons/running/cycling?
Enjoy it. I have never gone out there to not to enjoy it. What’s the point? Make sure you do the right sort of preparation that suits you and your personal commitments, you will have to train for an event but don’t over commit. Tell your loved ones and friends what you’re planning to do and get them on side to support you, or even take part themselves, training can be a lonely thing, better if you’ve a friend or two to train with you!!
5.What’s your favourite piece of sports equipment & why?
Well, after some deliberation, that has to be my bike! I’ve got a Forme Longcliffe 2.0 road bike which I’ve had for about four years now and I have to say it has never failed me! It has seen me through many a long ride, sportive and triathlon and I can’t fault it and it was my biggest investment in kit and one that I’ve never looked back on.
6.What’s been your major achievement in sport so far?
This year in 2017 I put myself through my biggest challenge to date, to complete a half and a full distance triathlon. I entered, and completed both the Outlaw Half, (in May), and the Outlaw Full, (in July). I am so pleased I did for loads of different reasons but I can’t honestly say that I’d do it all again! Maybe another half, one day!!
7.Who is your favourite sports person that you follow on social media & why?
Now this is a difficult one as there are so many aspirational , sports people out there today that it makes singling one person out so difficult. But, one person that I follow lots and pushes the boundaries of pretty much everything he does is Sean Conway. He has pushed the sport of endurance swimming, cycling, running and triathlon to its limits and just keeps on going!
8.What would your autobiography be called?
According to my wife “How to be a pain in the arse”!
9.You have a private jet at the ready, who do you take? And where do you go?
Easy, I would take my family to all expenses paid holiday to Hawaii. They’ve wanted to go there for years and they deserve it for what I’ve put them through this year!!!
If you would like to help Al on his fundraising journey, please show your support in the following ways:
Visit our brand new website! https://alditheridge.wixsite.com/pxefundraising
Like our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/FundraisingforPXE
If you would like to make a donation, please visit our donations page