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Saxmundham/Ipswich: Gordon Merfield defies cancer to enter Great East Swim at Alton Water on June 21

Gordon Merfield is taking part in this month's Great East Swim

Gordon Merfield is taking part in this month's Great East Swim

Archant

A man who has been diagnosed with incurable cancer is preparing to take part in this month’s Great East Swim.

Gordon Merfield, from Saxmundham, will be taking on the 5km challenge at the event at Alton Water reservoir on June 21.

The 76-year-old, who is a qualified athletics coach and British Triathlon champion, has been diagnosed with incurable cancer and has entered the open water challenge to inspire and motivate others to achieve their goals, regardless of age of health problems.

He said: “Since 1983 I have completed 15 Ironman competitions and more than 100 marathons across the globe, as well as taking part in numerous distance swims.

“Being diagnosed with cancer has made me more determined to show that I can still achieve my fitness goals.

“Many people who are diagnosed with cancer sit back and accept that it is the end. I want to motivate them to feel that they can still have aims and live their life to the full.”

Since moving to Saxmundham to retire in 2001, Mr Merfield has founded the Saxons Running Club and is chairman of Saxmundham Sports Club.

He added: “Nowadays I only do mini marathons, which I run on crutches, but I find swimming much easier on the body.

“I have 30 years of open water swimming experience and I train through my coaching which I do in the pool and in open water regularly.

“I am now in a place where I want to give something back and help others. I’ve always thought that if you can do something for someone else, it is 10 times more worthwhile.”

Entries are still being accepted for this year’s Great East Swim, which includes a new shorter length of half a mile for swimmers aged 12 or over.

There are also one mile, two mile and 5km distances which provide a greater challenge for anyone aged 16 and over.

Visit www.greateastswim.org/east for more information or to enter.

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