South Shields PE teacher breaks bone doing Ironman triathlon, keeps going anyway

A PE teacher endured the pain barrier to overcome when he tackled the Ironman UK competition with a fractured collar bone.

Paul Given as he prepared for the race.
Paul Given as he prepared for the race.

Paul Given was determined to complete the challenge so he could fulfil his pledge to raise funds for Scope.

But the 44-year-old, who will start his new role of deputy headteacher of St Wilfrid’s RC College in South Shields next month, came off his bike during the 112 mile course set up as part of the triathlon.

Paul Given, pitcured during his Ironman UK run.

Instead of quitting, he got back in the saddle, finished the ride and then went on to complete a marathon, with all that finished after a 2.4mile swim.

Medics at the event in Bolton had told him he had sustained the fracture, but that it would be safe to continue.

After being checked out on his return home, he had to wear his arm in a sling to help the double-break heal.

Paul, who is “South Shields born and bred”, said: “The adrenalin kicked in and I didn’t want to let anybody down, especially when I raised so much money,

Paul Given, pitcured during his Ironman UK run.

“It took my 11 hours and 17 minutes in total and I was hoping for 11 hours.

“I’d already put in nine months of practice.

“I think it’s the single most difficult thing I’ve ever done.

“After I came off my bike I was trying to make up time, so I pushed myself quite hard.

“I still had 30 miles to go when I came off when I tried to brake on a corner.

“When I came back to South Shields I got it x-rayed and it came back to show it was a double fracture of the collar bone on the right side.”

Paul, who is married to Julie, 43, and dad to Laine, 12, and Anna, eight, raised £1,150 for the charity, which he chose to back because of the work it does to help support, offer information to and to advice disabled people and their families.

It is also a charity partner for the event.

The teacher, who had a total hip replacement two years ago, came 163rd in the race through the Lancashire countryside and Bolton town centre.

It saw him complete the swim in 1 hour five minutes and 51 seconds, the bike ride in 5 hours 59 minutes and seven seconds and the run in 11 hours, 17 minutes and 46 seconds.

The feat has to be completed in 17 hours.

Sponsorship donations can still be made via his Just Giving page which can be found at