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Federated Farmers is commending Jason Uden, a Federation member, who is competing in the Taupo Ironman to raise awareness of autism.
“It’s an amazing feat that anyone could swim a gruelling 3.8 kilometres in Lake Taupo before hopping on a bike to ride 180 kilometres then finishing with a marathon,” says Don Nicolson, Federated Farmers President.
“Yet the reason why Jason Uden is training for the Ironman is probably the most inspiring thing. He’s doing all of this ‘self inflicted punishment’, as he calls it, for his four and a half year old son, Cam.
“Jason wishes to show everyone that autism isn’t something to whisper about. It’s a powerful message that Jason expands upon in his informative blog. He records the ups and downs of being a farmer, a dad, a husband and of course, a ‘wannabe ironman’.
“It’s certainly helped my understanding of autism. Federated Farmers wishes Jason the best as he prepares first-up for the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Taupo Half Ironman, in just 41 days time.
“Jason’s been ‘encouraged’ by the news that the ‘half’ is more like a quarter of the Taupo Ironman, he’ll compete in next March. We’re very proud of Jason and the positive inspirational message he is taking forward,” Mr Nicolson concluded.
Jason Uden, a Waikato dairy farmer, has been training for the Ironman over the past seven months and recently, under the direction of Jason Wheadon - trainer for the Northern Knights, the New Zealand woman’s cricket team as well as Joelle King, who won gold and silver at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
“I was pretty unfit when I first started. I’d never run a half marathon before and I’m sure that I couldn’t swim more than 300 metres without feeling like I was about to die,” says Mr Uden.
“I’ve kept at it since March and I’m now training about three to four hours a day. But I’m doing this for Cam and I constantly remind myself of that when I’d rather stay in bed and out of the rain.
“I'm also doing this to raise both awareness and money for families in need of financial support. It’s an extremely good cause.
“I want to let people know that autism doesn’t have to be something to be hidden away and ignored. I want to show people, who don’t know much about autism, just how great our kids really are.
“Above all, I want to show Cam that people can dream big and they can achieve their dreams.
“All I wish is for Cam to have high aspirations and to give him the belief that he can do anything. What better way to do this than to lead by example,” Mr Uden concluded.
Jason Uden’s ‘Ironman Wannabe’ blog can be read by clicking here.
Autism New Zealand’s website can be accessed by clicking here.