Special Projects: The Greatest Ironman


Polar Manufacturing was approached by Alex Smith who was planning a very personal and inspirational sporting challenge.

Alex’s son Harrison was born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a muscle wasting disease for which there is currently no cure. Harrison loves doing everything his dad does so they both undertook the ultimate father and son experience. Harrison accompanied Alex on an Ironman triathlon in June 2015. Alex swam, cycled and ran a total of more than 200km, while carrying his disabled son for the entire journey - pushing himself to the limit for his son to raise awareness of this fatal disease.

Despite driving rain and strong winds, Alex and Harrison completed the course together in 15 hours, 36 minutes.

Watch Alex and Harrison on BBC One's The One Show on Wednesday 17 June at 2’12” and 41’22”.

The One Show

The One Show


To make the project achievable, Alex needed a lightweight, stable and secure buggy to hold Harrison throughout the cycling and running sections of the triathlon. That’s where Polar came in, designing a bespoke buggy from lightweight carbon fibre. The development of the design was led by Polar Manufacturing’s Managing Director Mike Harris and Project and Design Engineer, Jonathan Battrick.

Alex Smith said: “The process has been amazing. Nothing has been too much for both Mike and Jonathan. They have taken a standard trailer and through their integration of carbon fibre, innovative approaches and multiple trips up and down the motorway to fit Harrison in a bespoke molded seat we have ended up with what can only be described as the ultimate combination racing trailer and buggy. I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to our cause and challenge and will always be eternally grateful.”

Designer Jonathan Battrick said: ”For me the project was extremely rewarding. Harrison is a great kid and Alex’s dedication to his son is extremely admirable. To be able to help out and be a part of their mission is quite an honour.”

Polar Manufacturing has been inspired by the project and now plans to launch an annual appeal to develop a project for a good cause in the near future.

Managing Director Mike Harris said: “Meeting Alex and Harrison you can’t fail but be inspired, there is no pity just a huge feeling of meeting the challenge head on. The final buggy product looks fantastic with reduced weight, personally moulded seat for Harrison and extended axel to accommodate some leg room. It’s also heartening to feel that as Harrison’s condition deteriorates the buggy can be used for years to come beyond the ironman challenge to make Harrisons day to day challenges a little easier. All at Polar were delighted to be able to be a part of this project and wish Alex, Harrison and his family all the best for the future.”

You can discover more about Alex and Harrison by visiting www.harrisonsfund.com. There is also a documentary being filmed about their challenge. The trailer inspired Polar to help, you can view it via this page.

For further information about the Greatest Ironman triathlon and ways to donate, please visit www.greatestironman.com and www.justgiving.com/greatestironman.