SOUTHAMPTON Hospitals Charity is calling on the community to help them raise a million with their inaugural virtual triathlon.

Most of the usual calendar of events has had to be cancelled, meaning there has been a 70 per cent decrease in event income.

Individuals and teams can take swim, cycle and run in Race For a Million throughout May. There are lots of distance options from Olympic to much shorter challenges suitable for all the family.

Money raised will support vital facilities within the newly expanded General Intensive Care Unit (GICU) at University Hospital Southampton (UHS), where the Charity has pledged to raise £1 million towards a specialist rehabilitation area, palliative care suite, relatives' quiet room, and staff waiting room.

The GICU has treated hundreds of patients with coronavirus during the pandemic and has also accepted transfers from hospitals as far away as Birmingham and London.

Former patient Claire Danson says she owes her life to the team at Southampton. A European champion triathlete, Claire was on the cusp of becoming a professional but her dream was shattered following a crash with a tractor while she was on a training ride in 2019. She was transferred to UHS by air ambulance but had broken every bone in her neck, both shoulders and severed her spine, leaving her paralysed from the waist down.

Claire, 34, said: “My family was told there was a strong chance I wouldn’t survive, but it’s thanks to the amazing team in the intensive care unit at Southampton that I am here. They literally saved my life. I encourage you to sign up for the triathlon, take part, and have a great race!”

Registration is via and is £15 per participant or team.