Man tackles extreme endurance challenges alongside son with muscular dystrophy

A UK man has embarked upon a number of daring endurance challenges with his young son, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Mr Alex Smith took on the Ironman triathlon with son Harrison at his side, inspired by a father and son duo from America who managed a similar feat following a cerebral palsy diagnosis.

Alex Smith was told by doctors that his son, Harrison, nine, would be unlikely to live past the age of 25.

“To be told, “Your son is going to die. There is nothing you can do. So take him home, love him and give him a good life,” is something you don’t expect to hear,” Alex said.

“That day was the moment our normal life ended and our new lives began.”

Since the diagnosis, Alex has successfully set up a charity fund in aid of his son, and tackled a number of intense endurance challenges.

“I was just an ordinary guy. But I wanted to do something out of the ordinary. I decided to set up Harrison’s Fund, and complete the Ironman challenge to raise money to fund the team working on his illness. It gave me something to focus some positive energy into.”

The Ironman challenge saw Alex tackle a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run – pulling Harrison along with him every step of the way.

“Having the cameras around made Harrison a bit of a celebrity!” Alex laughs. “His friends all thought he was very cool,” said Alex.

Alex miraculously managed to raise £1.5million for Harrison’s Fund, and his efforts were documented in a Discovery Channel Documentary, entitled The Challenge: My Iron Man Dad, which was broadcast in the UK on Sunday 19 June.