Man who suffered break so bad it was a 'jigsaw puzzle' ready for triathlon

Neal Watson is taking on the Holkham Half Marathon. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Neal Watson is taking on the Holkham Half Marathon - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A father-of-two from Kesgrave is back in the saddle less than 10 months after a serious cycling accident nearly left him unable to compete in the same way again.

Last November, during preparations for the Outlaw Half Holkham event, Neal Watson suffered a shattered femur as a result of an accident on a hairpin bend in Wales.

Neal Watson is taking on the Holkham Half Marathon. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Neal Watson is taking on the Holkham Half Marathon - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mr Watson suffered a shattered femur and bruising following the accident.

Mr Watson suffered a shattered femur and bruising following the accident. - Credit: Neal Watson

Fast forward to now, the Kesgrave resident will be taking part in that very event he was training for, despite not being able to walk unaided in January.

In addition to crossing the line on Sunday, he hopes to raise funds for a charity that is close to his heart. 

Mr Watson, who is dad to Darcey, 12 and Erin 9, said: “I have always wanted to do this event. It’s been an ambition for many years and I finally took the plunge last November, signing up and planning my training only to have the accident just weeks later, leaving me stranded in Wales for a week and uncertain of my recovery time frames. 

“The break was so bad that there was a chance I would never be able to compete in the same way again. 

Neal Watson is taking on the Holkham Half Marathon. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Neal Watson is taking on the Holkham Half Marathon - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

“The surgeon described it as a jigsaw puzzle, but assured me he and his team would do their very best to give me the best possible chance of recovery.” 

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Mr Watson was not able to walk unaided until the end of January, as he had a titanium rod and several screws holding his femur together. 

A surgeon described Mr Watson's shattered femur as a jigsaw puzzle.

A surgeon described Mr Watson's shattered femur as a jigsaw puzzle. - Credit: Neal Watson

The dad-of-two showed an unbelievable determination to recover and will complete the triathlon on July 3 which is made up of a 1.2-mile open water swim, a 56-mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. 

Mr Watson said: “With a lot of support from family and friends I was able to slowly start training again.   

Neal Watson is taking on the Holkham Half Marathon. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Neal Watson is taking on the Holkham Half Marathon - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

“It’s still painful now and that’s likely to be something I live with for the rest of my life to a degree, but I really want to cross that finish line and as an extra incentive I decided to make this event a fundraiser for a charity that means a lot to me personally – Prostate Cancer UK.” 

Neal’s father, Phil Watson, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 and is still battling the disease today. 

Mr Watson added: “Then my wife had a close relative recently having surgery following a prostate cancer diagnosis and I have seen countless friends and colleagues battling, suffering and some losing their lives to this disease; and so, I wanted to use this event as a platform to raise money for the charity but also to increase awareness and encourage men to get checked regularly!” 

Mr Watson set up online fundraising and already raised £1 965.