Blind Dave and Tony Escape From Alcatraz
Fundraiser for The Albion Foundation

"All back in one piece, no rest just yet, need to wait a few weeks before getting some sun, but told Deb no beach and no sea - just a lilo and a bar!"

Dave Heeley's words when we asked him about his latest Alcatraz triathlon fundraising challenge.

Dave and friends with a friends with Seamus the  model shark

He told us:

"Escape from Alcatraz was one absolutely amazing experience, but in fairness not to be repeated! I am still trying to get my head around the whole challenge, the myth of Alcatraz and its iconic standing has still not sunk in.

"On Sunday 12th of June, just before 7.30am, we stood with around 2000 other competitors on the deck of the San Francisco Belle, a huge sea steamer moored alongside the iconic prison of Alcatraz, awaiting the start. At 7.30am, in the blink of an eye, we all plunged into the rather cold and very rough waters of San Francisco Bay. What went through my mind in that split second was very scary: the thought of those cold rough waters, very strong currents and of course, the thing we had been told not to worry about, sharks!

"Tied at the waist to my guide and good pal Tony, we began the mile and half swim, the salty water lapping over us. Tony told me afterwards that he was in a very similar situation to me, couldn't really see anything other than water as the waves were so big. We anticipated a swim of around 1 hour 15, but to our delight we completed it in just 58 minutes. We were elated. To put my feet down on that beach was one of the most incredible feelings I had ever had, especially as no shark had said hello!

"Still tied at the waist and in our wetsuits, we ran half a mile to the bike, stripped off the suit, donned our cycling gear and leaped onto a tandem borrowed from a blind chap in San Francisco. We completed what can only be described as a very hilly and taxing tandem ride for 18 miles.

"Then from bike to foot, an 8 mile run, off road, on trail, steep inclines, cliff tracks and a relentless uphill for 6 miles. After hitting a soft sandy beach, which certainly told on the legs, we were confronted with a sand ladder, 400 man-made sand steps - boy, did that bit hurt! At the top we hoped for salvation in some flat ground but no, it continued up again for another half mile, then at last, an incline down for a mile and half to the finish line.

"The finish line was very welcome. What was very interesting and different was to hear competitors being announced, not from familiar local place, but from the likes of California, San Francisco, New York.

"We are still fund raising. Please have a look at our latest challenge to make a donation to the Albion Foundation."



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