Wigan businessman tackles gruelling 20-mile obstacle course in grandfather's memory

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A businessman who took the reins of a family firm from his grandfather has completed a gruelling challenge in his memory.

Jack Sharpe became director of T Fazakerley and Son in Swinley – one of the oldest family-owned property firms in the North West – after the death of his grandfather Brian Fazakerley.

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He died suddenly of a heart attack in January last year, just like his father had done before him.

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Jack Sharpe celebrates with his medalJack Sharpe celebrates with his medal
Jack Sharpe celebrates with his medal

It spurred on Jack to do something in his memory to support the British Heart Foundation, a charity which raises money for research into heart and circulatory diseases.

The 34-year-old decided to take on the Rat Race Dirty Weekend Obstacle Run at Burghley House in Stamford, Lincolnshire.

It is billed as the world’s biggest obstacle course, with 200 obstacles in 20 miles, including a travellator and swimming through a lake.

After two cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jack, who lives in Warrington, took on the gruelling course.

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Brian FazakerleyBrian Fazakerley
Brian Fazakerley

And a previous injury made the challenge even tougher for him.

He said: “It was difficult. I have only just recovered from a fractured knee about 18 months ago, so I was a bit nervous on a few obstacles, but it was good. There was anything from jumping off a seven-metre ledge to climbing through barbed wire. It was more of a challenge just to finish it.”

After a 30-minute wait for the last obstacle, Jack became cold and his muscles seized up.

But he managed to overcome it and was delighted to reach the finish line, completing the course in seven hours 29 minutes.

Braving one of the obstaclesBraving one of the obstacles
Braving one of the obstacles

He was spurred on by thoughts of his beloved grandfather.

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Jack, a chartered surveyor who became the fifth generation of the family to run the business after Mr Fazakerley’s death, said: “He was definitely on my mind. I was very close to him.”

So far Jack has raised £140 for the British Heart Foundation, but it still collecting donations as he aims to reach £200.

The money will be used to help fund research into treatments and cures to prevent more people dying from heart attacks and other conditions.