A SUPERFIT Southampton woman had her own special reason for taking part in one of the world’s toughest endurance events.

Retired head teacher Jenny Lawrie entered the Ironman 70.3 Triathlon to help fund research into Parkinson’s disease, which has afflicted her brother David for more than 20 years.

Jenny, 64, of Shirley, is hoping to raise more than £3,000 for the charity Parkinson’s UK.

She and her fellow competitors at the event in Vichy, France, had to contend with stifling 35-degree heat as they swam 1.9km, cycled 90km and ran 21.1km.

David, 66, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1995 and has been battling the condition with the help of family and friends ever since.

Jenny said: “I’m full of admiration for his good cheer and positive attitude to life.

“His philosophy has been to carry on regardless but despite his amazing determination and optimism this horrible degenerative condition relentlessly encroaches upon what he can and cannot do.”

Jenny has so far raised £1,952 and is hoping to reach her target of £3,519.51. The figure was inspired by David’s birthdate - May 3 1951.

She said: “The toughest part was the extreme heat. It obviously didn’t matter during the swim but I found myself running in the midday sun - it really was a cade of mad dogs and Englishmen.”

Jenny, who used to work in a school at Downton, near Salisbury, added: “I spent nine months preparing for the event and spent a lot of time flogging my day around the New Forest.

“The preparation was hard work but I had the time to do it and it all paid off on the day.

“After completing the Ironman I was on Cloud Nine - so excited and so happy. One of my friends also took part and other friends cheered us on, which all added to the experience.

“I was tired but not exhausted and didn’t feel bad in any way.”

Jenny’s brother lives at Leamington Spa and is chairman of the local branch of Parkinson’s UK.

Ruth Brady, the charity’s regional fundraising manager said: “Taking part in the Ironman event is an exciting and daring way to raise much needed funds to support our work.

“Parkinson’s UK is delighted to have Jenny’s support and well done to her for raising so much already.”

To help Jenny reach her target go online and donate to her Virgin Giving page - uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JennyLawrie.