Inspirational fundraiser “Captain Tobias” will complete his latest epic feat this weekend when he swims and trikes his way to the end of a year-long ironman challenge for charity.
Tobias Weller, 10, who has cerebral palsy and autism, was nicknamed “Captain” after he was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore to do a series of challenges during the pandemic lockdowns which have so far raised more than than £150,000.
He announced his ironman challenge during the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year show in December, when he won the inaugural Captain Sir Tom Moore Young Unsung Hero Award and met his hero.
By then, he had completed the 42.2km marathon distance on his race runner, when he was cheered over the line by Olympic gold medalist Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill in August 2020.
He had started the 180km trike ironman component, which he is planning to complete near his home in Sheffield on Sunday.
Tobias began the 4km swim in June – when the pools reopened after Covid closures – and is due to finish the very last leg at the international competition pool at Ponds Forge, Sheffield, on Saturday.
Tobias told the PA news agency: “I’m so excited about finishing my Ironman Challenge this weekend – it’s going to be awesome.
“When people clap and cheer for me, it makes me feel magnificent.
“I’ve raised over £150,000 so far. That’s a lot of money, isn’t it?
“If I can make even more money for my favourite charities, I’ll be chuffed to bits.
“I’m chuffed to bits that I’m continuing to get stronger whilst raising money for charity.
“I can swim so much better than I could before and that makes me feel brilliant.”
Tobias captured the attention of the nation when he started his first marathon using a walker in March 2020, shortly after the pandemic struck.
He finished 70 days later and, in June 2020, started a second one, this time using a race runner loaned from CPTeens.
He has since been gifted a race runner from Quest 88 and Jiraffe gave him his trike for the next challenge.
Tobias’s mum Ruth Garbutt said: “I am, once again, bursting with pride for my son.
“It’s taken him over a year to get to this point and he has never, once, wanted to give up.
“We’ve been out triking every weekend throughout the winter, through rain, wind and hail. His determination and tenacity are humbling.”
Ms Garbutt said: “He’s triked 180km in distances of 5km or 6km. Each of those is exhausting for him.
“He’s built up the distances throughout the challenge and can now swim 400m in one session.”
Tobias has split the money he has raised between Paces School in Sheffield – which he attends – and The Children’s Hospital Charity, which supports Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where he has been treated many times.
The charity has explained how it is spending its share on a new two-year children’s exercise and physical activity therapist post at its Ryegate Centre in the city.
Ms Garbutt thanked Swim! and Virgin Gym in Sheffield for allowing Tobias to use their pools for free to complete the challenge.
More details at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/captaintobias9