Tom Watson MP will be taking on four adventures that he will attempt during 2019 as he continues to transform his life by being more active and encourage others to follow his lead. Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, has already lost seven stone and reversed a type 2 diabetes diagnosis by dramatically changing his lifestyle. Now, in a new initiative, he has teamed up with the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) to set himself a series of challenges for 2019 that he hopes will inspire more people to get active for better health. We at Polaris are delighted to be assisting Tom in these adventures by providing his cycling kit.
‘Adventures 4 Health’ will see Watson and OIA chief executive Andrew Denton tackle four activities – climbing, canoeing, cycling and swimming – to highlight the range of options available to anyone who wants to improve their health by getting active.
‘Adventures 4 Health’ will begin on 18 May when Tom Watson will join Andrew Denton and other representatives from the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) to climb Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales. They will be supported by the National Mountain Training Centre and British Mountaineering Council (BMC) and the day will showcase how easily accessible outdoor activities can play a major role in improving physical and mental wellbeing.
On 20 July, Tom Watson will canoe a section of the Birmingham & Black Country Trails with British Canoeing, through his West Bromwich East constituency and into the heart of Birmingham and finishing at the town hall. Along 75km of canals, the six trails offer canoeists easy to follow routes through an area at the centre of the country that is packed with industrial heritage. Watson and Denton will help British Canoeing champion the work that the organisation does to ensure access to water, facilities and equipment for anyone who wants to canoe.
Two weeks after the paddling challenge, Tom Watson and Andrew Denton will get into the saddle to cycle the 46-mile Prudential RideLondon road sportive in Surrey and London, finishing on The Mall, and supported by Prudential Health, London Marathon Events and British Cycling. This popular event attracts thousands of cyclists of all abilities every year, but this will be Watson’s first experience of riding in a sportive. Tom will be sporting a full wardrobe of Polaris Bikewear kit for the event to ensure he looks the part, and more importantly can ride in comfort.
Tom Watson’s final Adventures 4 Health challenge in 2019 will be a half-mile open water swim in the Children With Cancer UK Swim Serpentine festival in Hyde Park on 21 September, organised by London Marathon Events. Swimming is the second most popular activity in the UK (after walking) and Watson and Denton will demonstrate how accessible it can be, even if there isn’t an indoor pool on the doorstep.
After decades of relative inactivity and poor diet, Tom Watson MP was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in late 2015. Although that wasn’t a huge shock to him at the time, it was the jolt that he needed to improve his lifestyle. As well as cutting out sugary foods, Watson took up exercise and over time, he lost seven stone and his type 2 diabetes diagnosis was reversed.
Tom Watson comments: “I realise that my circumstances and position provide me with the resources to take action, but it all had to start with me making that decision to change. Through Adventures 4 Health, I want to show other people what is possible as an individual and how easy it is to access so many different activities, in every part of the country.
“We face a growing inactivity epidemic in the UK and it’s killing people, but it doesn’t have to be this way and I am really pleased to be working with the Outdoor Industries Association on this positive project to promote participation. It’s no exaggeration to state that my life has been completely transformed in recent years and I hope that sharing my experience on these four events will encourage others to set off along their own path towards healthier, more active lives.”
Polaris Bikewear are delighted to be providing Tom with cycling clothing and equipment to help him complete his Adventures 4 Health challenge. We hope Tom’s adventures inspire many others to get out on their bikes and enjoy the outdoors.
Follow Tom Watson’s progress during Adventures 4 Health on Twitter at @Tom_Watson.