Leeds woman's fundraising finale

She's spent a year doing arduous challenges for charity – so Sarah Ruston was determined to see off 2010 with a bang.

The final feat of 12 months fundraising for Leeds breast cancer support centre The Haven was the Pink Powerathon, a gruelling ironman challenge which included a 2.3 mile swim, 112 mile ride on an exercise bike and a marathon-distance run.

Friends and family joined Sarah on parts of the challenge at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Beeston, which ran from 7am until midnight.

Plans to finish the 26.2 mile run at the Haven in Leeds city centre were scuppered by icy weather but she completed the race on a treadmill instead.

Beforehand she confessed she was "quite nervous" but had done plenty of training.

Afterwards, she thanked everyone for their support and said though the swim went better than she had expected, the bike ride was harder and the run was tough.

"A lot of people have asked me why I would do a challenge like this," she added.

"It's probably because the women that I've met at the Haven tell stories of such fantastic bravery and courage in the face of their terrible ordeals, doing what I can to raise money to help them through it seems a very minor contribution and very worth the sore joints."

The ironman contest marked the end of the Pink Power Challenge, which started in January.

Sarah, from Headingley, Leeds, set up the event after climbing Mont Blanc for the Haven in 2009 and raising 2,700.

The 38-year-old was inspired to continue to support the cause when the wife of a fellow climber was diagnosed with breast cancer and because

the illness affects so many.

The Pink Power Challenge has included a raft of different fundraising events, including running marathons, organised by the Pink Power Army.

"We have a group of 10 committee members who have all been bringing in their friends and doing various challenges like 10ks and triathlons and even shaking a bucket at the races," Sarah, a legal director, said.

Money is still coming in but it is hoped the Pink Power Challenge will raise around 10,000 in total.

Sarah said she and the team have big plans for next year, when they hope to do a similar fundraising event on a much bigger scale.

The Haven provides a free programme of complementary therapies and activities for anyone affected by breast cancer. The charity has just launched a 1.5m fundraising appeal to enable it to buy a permanent base in Leeds.

* Support the Pink Power Challenge by logging onto www.justgiving.com/pinkpowerchallenge2010.

Flora Mewies of Ward Hadaway

‘Removal of EU as source for skilled staff would stunt growth of tech sector’