Heysham youngster takes on 874 miles

Niamh Barnsley-Ryan.
Niamh Barnsley-Ryan.

A Heysham youngster has embarked on an epic swim, bike and run of the length of Britain within a year.

Niamh Barnsley-Ryan, 10, completed on average 18 miles each week to raise cash for Bay Cottage Play Park, in Heysham, and for Make-A- Wish Foundation.

The youngster, who is a member of City of Lancaster Triathlon (COLT), built up the 874 mile target by taking part in various sporting activities throughout the year.

Niamh, who only did her first triathlon last September, decided to take on the year-long challenge of completing the equivalent distance of Land’s End to John O’Groats to help Friends of Bay Cottage.

She finished the last 100 miles of her challenge over three days, travelling through Scotland and up to John O’Groats.

“It has been a brilliant year, although it was hard at times,” said Niamh.

“I finished it actually in John O’Groats after cycling and running the last lot of miles in the Cairngorms, Loch Ness and along the coast road and down into John O’Groats - it was epic!

“It was weird running down to John O’Groats, thinking that this was it, I had done it. But, then I couldn’t stop laughing because I fell down a curb just before I got to the John O’Groats sign. I got up and ran to the sign – it was a great feeling.”

Niamh has raised close to £4,000 – but still has her sights on set on boosting the coffers with more fund-raisers next year.

Bay Cottage Play Park needs to raise £200,000 to re-open their beloved park, after Lancaster City Council cash to maintain it ran dry.

The money she has raised will buy a piece of equipment for use by disabled children and also help Make- A- Wish Foundation.

Niamh, a pupil at Heysham St Peter’s CofE, notes her highlights as carrying the London 2012 Olympic Torch in the Morecambe Carnival parade and having people join her running and cycling.

She said: “Thank you to everyone who has supported me, it has been a year I will never forget.”

Mum Rachel said: “We’ve got so much admiration for the determination she has shown to complete this challenge, even when she doubted she could do it. We’re very proud.”

In September Niamh raised £865 at a swim event at Ocean Edge Caravan Park - when she was joined by 15 children and her granddad.