Man completes gruelling half-Ironman challenge after grandfather died from coronavirus

A man from Llantwit Fardre has completed a gruelling half-Ironman triathlon in memory of his grandfather, who died from coronavirus.

Geraint Williams swam, cycled and ran for a combined 70.3 miles every day for 12 days, pushing himself to the limit.

Through his challenge, Geraint has raised more than £5,000 for the staff who cared for his grandfather at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

A "tired but happy" Geraint said: "The last few miles just went so fast. Although the 12 days went quite slow, the last three miles were a blur."

Geraint's half-Ironman challenge:

  • Swim for 1.2 miles

  • Cycle for 56 miles

  • Half-marathon 13.1 miles

  • All of the above, every day for 12 days

Geraint's grandfather Graham contracted coronavirus after going into hospital for a hip operation. Credit: Geraint Williams

Geraint's grandfather Graham began to display symptoms of coronavirus after being admitted into hospital for a hip operation.

The family believed the "very fit" former soldier, who had served with the South Wales Borderers, had a good chance of pulling through.

But just over a week after he contracted the virus, Graham died, aged 83. His funeral is being held today.

Geraint wanted to thank staff at the intensive care unit who had cared for his grandfather, so channelled his grief into his fundraising challenge.

He had set a target of £1,000, but has now raised more than five times that amount, with loved ones and the local community all lending support.

Geraint says he's been overwhelmed by the support from his local community.

Geraint added: "It has just blown up - the support has been incredible."

Losing a loved one unexpectedly during the pandemic has also brought about life lessons for Geraint and his family, who have vowed to make more time for each other.

Geraint said: "We're a very close family but we're all working so hard, we don't see enough of each other. So that's the biggest thing I think we'll take away from it."

Watch the full report by Ellie Pitt here: