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A triple mammoth challenge for Huntington's Disease

Words by Abi Scaife

22-year-old Beinn Burroughs has always been interested in sport - but childhood football games weren’t quite enough to prepare him for the challenge he's taking on in the name of the Scottish Huntington’s Association.

Huntington’s Disease is a condition that damages nerve cells in the brain, causing them to stop working properly. It's degenerative, meaning it will get worse over time, and the gene is passed down throughout families - though whether you will be affected, or are just a carrier, is discovered through testing.

Scottish Huntington’s Association aims to help people whose lives have been affected by Huntington’s Disease, or HD, and helping them to access adequate medical care, mental health support, and more.

Born in Banff, Beinn is now living in Ayrshire, working as a physiotherapist. When he was 18, Beinn tested positive for Huntington’s Disease, like many members of his father’s family. As part of fundraising efforts for the charity that has supported himself and his family since the beginning, Beinn is taking on the hardest challenge that has ever been done to raise money for Scottish Huntingtons Association.

“I did Edinburgh Marathon for the second time last May. And I was like, right, I'm done. I can take a break,” laughs Beinn. “[But] Scottish Huntington’s posted … that they had places in the London Marathon. And Mum has always wanted me to do one because we've always known I could probably get a place with them.”

With the encouragement from his mum, Beinn applied to a place in the London Marathon to raise money for the Scottish Huntington’s Association - and from there things grew bigger and bigger.

“I thought, you know if we're gonna go and train up again for the London Marathon I might as well go all the way, right?”

Rather than sticking to one marathon, which Beinn has run for charity before, he decided to pull out all the stops to reach his fundraising goals.

Starting off with the London Marathon, a race of 26.2 miles/42.1 kilometres, Beinn will then go on to complete a Half Ironman, followed by a full Ironman. Full Ironmans are a long-distance triathlon races which comprise of a 2.4-mile (3.9 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.2 km) bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.2 km) run, while each distance is halved for the Half Ironman.

Beinn’s Triple Challenge is by far the most difficult fundraising event ever undertaken for the Scottish Huntington’s Association - and he is hoping that it'll help him raise as much money as possible to support the charity. 

So far, Beinn has raised nearly £3000 for the Scottish Huntington’s Association and, with time still to go before he completes his challenge, he's on track to do so much more.

The London Marathon will take place on the 23rd April 2023, followed by the Stafford Half Ironman on 11th June 2023 and the Bolton Ironman on the 2nd July 2023.

“I want to keep pushing…I think with Huntington’s… it makes you realise we don't all have as long as we think,” explains Beinn. “I don't like seeing people that are just in this rut. Fitness is so important for mental health, general health.

“I hope to be able to inspire people to go after that dream they have and support others to reach their goals and potential.”

If you want to support Beinn on his Triple Challenge journey, you can do so by donating to his JustGiving page, and can follow his journey on his YouTube channel.

This article aligns with the UN SDGs Partnership for the Goals and Good Health and Wellbeing.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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