A heart­felt ride

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Scott Mor­gan

HEART spe­cial­ist Tim Sut­ton is get­ting ready to prac­tise what he preaches.

On Fe­bru­ary 3, the Mt Eden res­i­dent and his son Ben will ride 140km from Matakohe, north of Wells­ford, to Auck­land in the New Zealand Heart Foun­da­tion’s Great Ride For Heart 2010.

The fol­low­ing day Tim will go it alone on the 160km ride from Auck­land to Mata­mata.

The pair are two of 67 cy­clists tak­ing part in the ride, with 24 rid­ers travers­ing the en­tire length of the coun­try.

“I spend a lot of time at work telling peo­ple how much they should ex­er­cise, but I’m spending time sit­ting in a chair,” he says.

“Hope­fully we can show every­one ex­er­cise can be fun.”

Along with rais­ing funds for the foun­da­tion, Tim says it’s im­por­tant to raise aware­ness about heart dis­ease and preven­tion.

“Heart dis­ease is the big- gest killer of peo­ple in New Zealand over 40.

“But you’re not just talk­ing about heart at­tacks. Peo­ple have prob­lems with the likes of heart valves as well.”

As part of his train­ing regime, the 41-year-old of­ten cy­cles 16km to work at Mid­dle­more Hospi­tal.

“I started do­ing it about a year ago as I was get­ting older and rounder.

“Ini­tially I thought cycling to work was a long way, but I’ve got to go 10 times as far on the ride for heart.”

He ad­mits there’s some nerves about cycling 300km in just two days.

“It’s the sec­ond day that’s got me re­ally think­ing.”

But he’s con­fi­dent cycling 40 to 50km once or twice a week should be enough train­ing to make sure they get to the end.

Once Ben found out his dad was get­ting in­volved, he says it wasn’t a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to join in.

“Heart dis­ease is a big killer in New Zealand and it’s been in my fam­ily for a few gen­er­a­tions.

“I can help pre­vent pain and suf­fer­ing and it’s also a great way to get fit.”

Ben, 16, hopes to raise $2000, while Tim’s goal is $10,000.

“I’ve been de­liv­er­ing pam­phlets around the neigh­bour­hood and have asked friends to help,” the Auck­land Gram­mar stu­dent says.

Heart Foun­da­tion med­i­cal di­rec­tor Nor­man Sharpe says the goal is to raise $1 mil­lion from the Great Heart Ride.

It is part of a big­ger plan to gather $5m to fund a re­search chair in heart dis­ease preven­tion at Auck­land Uni­ver­sity.

“The rid­ers are all sup­port­ing them­selves and pay­ing their own way, as well as fundrais­ing. It’s a big group ef­fort.”

In a gen­er­ous show of sup­port, the Dou­glas Char­i­ta­ble Trust is match­ing dol­lar for dol­lar all the cash raised by the rid­ers, up to $500,000.

To spon­sor Tim or Ben visit www.heartracer.org. nz.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Rid­ing high: Heart spe­cial­ist Dr Tim Sut­ton, right, and son Ben are in train­ing for Fe­bru­ary’s Great Heart Ride for the New Zealand Heart Foun­da­tion.

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