Throughout the upcoming year, we aim to celebrate our Threshold Heroes with a monthly “More Is In You Award”. The award recognises some of our most inspiring and courageous participants who have overcome a variety of challenges to achieve the remarkable.
Name: Phil Dawes
Age: 57 years
Phil Dawes is a former soldier who suffered abuse as a child at school between the ages of 9 and 11. He joined the military when he was 17 “so nothing like that would ever happen to me again without a fight”, and served from 1976-1994 all over the world including a number of hotspots. When Phil was 28 he ruptured his achilles and was forced to give up his involvement in rugby, cricket and triathlon.
Following his retirement from service in 1994, attacks and bouts of depression became more and more frequent and severe until his wife, Sue, made him go to the GP who referred Phil to a psychiatrist and subsequently diagnosed him with PTSD.
“I’m out with other people enjoying and pushing myself in the fresh air whatever the weather.”
He was prescribed Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) which he found hard, especially to begin with, and his therapist told him that he needed to set himself a target in life to aim for. He was reading a cycling magazine, saw an advertisement for Deloitte Ride Across Britain and signed up immediately. Phil acquired himself a new bike and, with the help of friends and colleagues who were already cyclists, started his journey.
Early on in his adventure, however, Phil was delivered a huge new challenge to confront. In January 2016 he was diagnosed with skin cancer, but fortunately, having been detected early, it was operable.
Following successful surgery in February 2016, Phil was able to kick-start his training in April 2016, and joined a local cycling club. He notes how his eyes were opened to the social elements of cycling and the benefits that coincided with his improving physical fitness.
Phil set off on Deloitte Ride Across Britain 2016 in September and although initially he found it incredibly tough, especially the first two days, when he wasn’t sure he was going to make it to John O’Groats. But it got easier as he found his rhythm, and he succeeded in beating the epic challenge he had set himself.
“Cycling is very different to rugby, or other sports I’ve played. You are not reliant on anybody else. Every failure is your own but every success is your own also”
On his return home, he was made redundant and immediately signed up to Deloitte RAB 2017, knowing that he would need cycling and a goal to get him through. “Without RAB there was no way I could have coped with what this year has thrown at me,” he says. “When I’m cycling, I’m not worrying about work or what has happened to me, I’m out with other people enjoying and pushing myself in the fresh air whatever the weather.”