A man from Northumberland is showing his thanks to a charity that saved his life by competing in an endurance challenge over some of the UK’s most rugged and mountainous terrain.
Robert Gibb, 28, from Eachwick, Northumberland, who was helped by the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), has pledged to show his support to the charity by taking part in the Clif Bar Lake District 10 peak challenge.
He was off-road biking near his home when he hit a stone and was catapulted over the handle bars of his motocross motorbike in 2006. He sustained a depressed skull fracture and GNAAS airlifted him to Newcastle General Hospital where he spent 15 days, having four plates fitted in his head.
He said: “There is a really good chance I wouldn’t be here today if the air ambulance hadn’t got to me so quickly. I was able to get back on my bike again after ten months and continued to race up until last year. I look forward to completing the grueling challenge and I hope to raise funds for GNAAS in the process.”
The challenge is a non-stop run and hike over the ten highest peaks in Cumbria’s Lake District. The terrain of the Lakes makes this one of the UK’s hardest one-day ultra distance events. The course covers approximately 73 kilometres with over 5,600 metres of ascent and is designed to challenge even the toughest competitors.
Robert, who owns an engineering company, swims one mile every morning and both runs and cycles around 40 miles a week in preparation for the event. He also uses Helvellyn at the Lake District as his training run.
Robert said: “It’s steep and brutal. I would like to get further into the peaks when days start getting longer. It’s tough to find enough hours in the day in the winter. The thing with these tough races is anything can happen so I just hope I can get round in one piece and to the finish.
“I want to thank the surgeons at Newcastle General Hospital, the air ambulance who got to the scene so quickly and everyone who has helped me on my road to recovery. I would also like to thank all the instructors at Matfen Hall Gym, Kirkley Cycles for their support in preparation for my challenge and TopNik Sports Therapy who have helped me loads with injury prevention.”
Mandy Drake, deputy director of fundraising at GNAAS, said: “We’re delighted that Robert is back fit and raising money for us. It looks to be a very testing challenge so we wish him all the best.”
Robert has a JustGiving page for anybody who would like to sponsor him: http://www.justgiving.com/robert-gibb