Epwell ironman swims, cycles and runs 143 miles for Cancer Research UK


Over £3,000 raised during endurance challenge which lasted over nine hours

The challenge of swimming in the sea, cycling over 100 miles or running a marathon would push most people to their limit as individual challenges.   Last weekend a local man did all three in one go as part of a personal ironman challenge.

Marc Steenkamp from Epwell had been hoping to enter an ironman competition as he approached his 40th birthday.   He had been training in readiness for an event, but coronavirus restrictions meant it had to be cancelled.

During the period of Marc’s training his father-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer and sadly passed away in May this year.   So Marc decided rather than waste the training he would complete his own ironman challenge and raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The challenge took place last weekend and started with a swim in the sea.   Marc told us there was a personal reason for the swim location off the south coast.   He said, “My father-in-law Simon used to really enjoy sailing.   Him and the family used to spend a lot of time in Hayling Island so I thought it would be quite fitting to go down there and do a swim”.

By chance the distance between the beach and Marc’s home proved the perfect distance for the cycling leg of his challenge. A run of marathon distance then took place around our local villages.

Whilst Marc described the one mile sea swim as “cold and choppy”, he completed the first phase of his challenge without any problems in 38 minutes.

The 115 mile cycle ride did test Marc mentally.   He said, “When we got to Oxford the heavens opened and it was absolutely hammering down on us.   At that point it got pretty rough.   That was the worst bit.   If I’m honest I enjoyed the whole day”.

Marc arrived in Epwell after 6 hours 42 minutes on his bike.   He then donned his running shoes and completed a 27 mile route taking in places like Shenington, Sibford, Wigginton, Milcombe, Bloxham, Adderbury, Bodicote, Lower Tadmarton and Shutford.   The run was completed in 4 hours 6 minutes.

Supporters were out in force to encourage Marc – a production manager at Kannegiesser UK in Banbury.   He said, “It was fantastic – great support from all my friends and colleagues.   The support for this has been absolutely brilliant”.

Despite having to put up with Marc’s training schedule over the last few months Marc’s wife is very proud of him.   He also thinks his father-in-law would be pleased, “He would be very proud.   He would have loved it, to witness it all happening, he would have thought it was fantastic”.

Now as Marc recovers from the mammoth challenge he can celebrate the huge amount of money he has secured for charity.    Initially he hoped to raise £500 for Cancer Research UK but has been blown away with people’s generosity with his total currently exceeding £3,000.  

Anyone wishing to add to the Marc’s fund raising total can visit his JustGiving page.

You can listen to our interview with Marc here:

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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