The Jane Tomlinson Appeal is delighted to announce that British Triathlete Chrissie Wellington is to become a patron of the charity.
Chrissie, 32, is reigning and triple World Ironman Champion (2007,2008 and 2009) as well as the current world ironman distance record holder and Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year.
“I am extremely proud and honoured to accept the invitation to be a patron of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal,” says Chrissie. “Jane’s unwavering determination, strength courage and selflessness in the face of adversity is an inspiration to each and every one of us. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to play a part in making sure that Jane’s memory and legacy lives in the great work of the Appeal.”
Chrissie has loved sport from a young age. Growing up in rural Norfolk, she attended the local state school where she was an enthusiastic member of most school sports teams. From the age of nine, she trained up to four times a week with the Thetford Dolphins swimming team and would compete in local competitions on the weekends.
“The best thing about sport,” she says “was the opportunity it gave me to spend time with my friends, keep reasonably fit and take my nose out of the school books.”
She attended the University of Birmingham but continued her sporting career, captaining the university swimming team as well as teaching children to swim during the long summer holidays. She ran the London Marathon for charity in 2002 and in 2004 did her first triathlon, even though she had never even sat on a road bike. But Chrissie was well and truly hooked on the sport and never looked back.
After a 16 month spell living and working in Nepal, she returned to the UK in 2006 and went on to win the World Age Group Championships later that year.. She turned professional in early 2007 and won the World Ironman Championships in Kona that October.
In 2008 she won Ironman Australia, Ironman Germany (the European Ironman Championships), Alpe d’Huez Long Course Triathlon, Timberman 70.3, the ITU World Long Course Championships in Almere, Holland and retained her World Ironman Champion title for a second year in a row. Last year, Chrissie went on to win Ironman Australia, then won and broke the world ironman-distance record at Quelle Challenge Roth, in Germany, before capping off a great season by winning the World Ironman Championships for a third year in a row, and taking the course title which had stood since 1992.
Mike Tomlinson, whose inspirational wife Jane died in September 2007 following a long battle with cancer, says: “Completing the Ironman in Florida, was far and away Jane’s greatest athletic achievement and she’d have been extremely humbled that Chrissie would have heard of her, never mind been a patron of the Appeal. It’s an honour for us that she’s agreed to be a patron of the Charity.”
The Jane Tomlinson Appeal raises money for children’s and cancer charities. The other event partner charities are Martin House Hospice, Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, Yorkshire Cancer Centre, Macmillan Cancer Support and the children’s medical research charity SPARKS. To date, £2.6 million has been raised and Jane's family led by Mike Tomlinson is determined to continue the great work she started.