Grace’s challenge in memory of her dad

Valerie Saunders, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke receives a cheque for �855.59 from Ballymoney personal trainer Grace Smith who completed an eight hour Assault Bike challenge for the local charity.
Valerie Saunders, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke receives a cheque for �855.59 from Ballymoney personal trainer Grace Smith who completed an eight hour Assault Bike challenge for the local charity.

Ballymoney personal trainer, Grace Smith, has raised £855.59 for a local charity by completing an incredible challenge which pushed her body and mind to the limit.

She spent a gruelling continuous eight hours on an assault bike to raise money for Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke in memory of her father David.

“My dad died of a massive heart attack when he was only 56 years old. I was 21 at the time, and I had just started work in Coleraine having completed my degree. I remember my brother calling me at 5pm on a Monday afternoon to say that dad was in the Royal Victoria Hospital. He was in ICU for 17 days but never regained consciousness.

“Losing him deeply affected our family. We found it difficult to talk about our loss. He had been the life and soul, a really great character, and he left such a space behind him. He was a builder and physically very fit so, on top of the loss, his death was a huge shock to us all.

“In all, I can count eleven people in my family who have had heart disease, including my dad’s brother who died of a heart attack two years before my dad, aged 42, and my grandparents on my mum’s side. So supporting NICHS was the obvious choice when I decided to take on this challenge.”

The Assault Bike is a static cycle which is said to offer one of the toughest workouts in the world. It is set up in Grace’s fitness studio, Forge PT, between Ballymoney and Coleraine, where the challenge took place.

“It is a truly horrible machine!” laughed Grace. “I chose the eight hour duration as this is the length of a normal working day whcich many spend sitting inactive at desks. It was extremely tough but I’m glad I completed it, for my dad, for myself and for NICHS.”