Iron man set to face greatest fear

Mark Kleanthous with his vast array of medals (Credit: Keith Greenlough)
Mark Kleanthous with his vast array of medals (Credit: Keith Greenlough)

A supreme athlete who has earned 450 medals competing in triathlons and marathons around the world has finally met his match.

Iron man Mark Kleanthous is taking a leap of faith for charity, jumping 100 feet in a freefall named the ‘Goliath Challenge’ today (Saturday), but as he has a fear of heights the challenge is terrifying him.

Mark, from Wing, said: “My good friend Gail has organised this event for Victim Support and asked me to do it.

“I said ‘Yes’ without realising how high 100 feet is.

2I went to the site to check it out and was very surprised.

“It’s like seven stacked double decker buses.

“I am apprehensive and nervous, but she is a good friend of mine so I have to take the plunge.

“To prepare myself I am visualising that I am not going to hurt myself, I am concentrating on relaxing my breathing and keeping my heart rate down, and focusing on the money to be raised for charity.”

The Goliath Challenge will start at midday at Ariel Extreme, Willen Lake, Milton Keynes.

It is hoped up to £4,000 will be raised through sponsorship and also with people paying £10 to register – call 01344 865738 – and take part in the jump.

“I’ll be wearing a special harness,” said Mr Kleanthous.

“There is no lift to the top, I have to climb up a rope ladder attached to the post. I think I’ll get extremely nervous climbing the ladder, but there will be someone at the top to greet me and go through the safety procedures.”

He said the jump is like a free fall, but he will be stopped before he gets to the bottom.

Mr Kleanthous, 52, who works as a performance coach, ran in the first London marathon in 1981 and caught the bug. Since then he has competed in almost 50 marathons around the world. His first triathlon was in 1984 and he has subsequently run more than 1050 races worldwide.

He has taken part in 35 Ironman triathlons where he has completed a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26 mile marathon in less than 17 hours.