FROM personal glory to the thrill of a challenge, the motives spurring people to compete in this weekend’s Ironman Weymouth are as diverse as the athletes themselves.

But for Peter McCleave it will mean more than most.

The dad-of-two was told he has seven years to live after being diagnosed with myeloma, a type of blood cancer – unless a stem cell donor can be found.

Undeterred, he challenged himself to recruit 10,000 new donors for the stem cell register in a bid to help himself – and others – to have a future.

And he’ll be cycling in this weekend’s Ironman Weymouth ahead of an ambition to get fully race fit in time to do the whole triathlon in Weymouth in 2019.

“I did Ironman Wales in 2016 and after that everything kind of unravelled,” said Mr McCleave, who lives in Cheshire with wife Jenny and sons Max, eight, and Seb, five.

“I wasn’t expecting to be feeling as well as I am at the minute, so I am taking advantage of that. When something like this happens you can just sit back and let it, but that’s not in my nature. This is me sticking two fingers up to cancer.”

Mr McCleave went through a stint of chemotherapy, causing him to lose all his hair.

He added: “They basically lock you in a room while you’re having the treatment, so I asked them to bring in an exercise bike. It’s the only way I know how to cope with this.”

There are 30 million people signed up to the stem cell register globally, but none of them are a match with Mr McCleave. Since launching his campaign to recruit 10,000 donors, more than 6,000 people have joined the register, resulting in two matches for other people being found.

“We are making massive inroads, but there is so much still to do,” he said. “I chose 10,000 as a starter number. When that is reached, I’ll just add another zero and keep going.”

Mr McCleave said the campaign has grown beyond finding a donor for just himself.

“I don’t want people to be told, like I was, ‘you’ve got seven years to live, and we know there’s a match out there somewhere but we can’t find them’. I may not find my match. I hope I do but if we can get more people on the register then, in future, when people are diagnosed, they won’t have to go searching for that person who could save them.”

n Signing up to the stem cell donor register is simple and non-invasive. It involves a cheek swab which is sent to you in the post with a pre-paid envelope to return it in. You’ll be added to the register and contacted if you’re a match. Visit to sign up.