Tom Franklin

By week-day I'm CEO of a national charity, Young Citizens, which helps more than 250,000 young people each year become active citizens. But by evening and weekend, as my friends and family will know, I'm a bit obsessed with running, cycling and swimming. It started a decade ago with a 1/2 marathon, and since then I've run about 15 marathons. Six years ago, I did a triathlon - and that has led on to a handful of 1/2 Ironman races of 70-mile distances and one full Ironman of 142-miles. This would all come as a great surprise to my school PE teacher - I'd do everything I could to avoid PE lessons, and would always be last in cross-country especially!

Anyway, this year is Young Citizens' 30th Birthday, and we're aiming to raise £30,000 through donations to support our work for young people. We have appeals, raffles, and sponsored sporting events taking place. I wanted to join in on the fundraising effort, and so I've been looking for an event which could really stretch me - to help raise both the profile of, and much-needed funds for, Young Citizens. I've found just the event....

I'll be attempting a DOUBLE IRONMAN in North Allerton, Yorkshire, between the 22nd and 23rd July in the hope of raising £500 towards the £30,000 target. This ironman challenge is twice as long as anything I've tried before and involves:

1) Starting at 3am on 22nd I will have 4 hours to complete a 4.8 mile swim - that's 320 pool lengths.
2) By 7am I'll be out the pool and on my bike! I'll have 24 hours to ride 224 miles - just short of cycling between London and Paris.
3) Battling the clock, sleep deprivation and extreme fatigue I'll finish with a 52-mile run which needs to be completed within the 15-hour deadline. 


I'll need to complete the whole challenge by 10pm on 23rd July - 42 hours after starting, and some 280 miles later.

"This personal test is no ordinary challenge, but the work of Young Citizens is special too. That's why I've decided to push myself to my very limits with the longest distance I've ever attempted. Please sponsor me and help us strengthening society together."  Tom Franklin, CEO, Young Citizens.

My training started last December, and I've been busy putting in the hours and clocking up the miles ever since, trying to fit it around my other commitments (running to and from work is a good way of doing this). I can't be certain that I'll finish the race - despite all the preparation, I'm going to need a bit of luck too. But I'm excited about the challenge, and I hope I can raise some valuable funds for the great cause of Young Citizens.

To say a little bit more about Young Citizens - we help teach young people knowledge about democracy and the law, the media and the economy. We help them develop skills like how to speak about things they care about, and how to consider different viewpoints. And, most importantly, we give them the confidence that no matter who they are, or where they come from, they can make a positive difference in the world. We currently receive no government funding, and are hugely reliant on donations.

It's a privilege to be part of such a great organisation. In this day and age, with the many challenges to our democratic society, I don't think there's been a more important time for the work of an organisation like Young Citizens.

Please give generously and help keep me focussed in the water, saddle and on the last leg. If you are able to sponsor me, I would be extremely grateful for your support.

Tom Franklin