Six people who live in Henshaws Community Houses in Harrogate are celebrating after completing the Skipton Triathlon as a team. The team, who all have visual impairments and additional disabilities, were part of a record breaking 930 competitors from all over the North of England to take part in the UK’s biggest pool based triathlon, organised by Freebird Events.
Jennie, Karen, Samuel, Shelley, Tracey and Michael were cheered on by family, friends, staff and volunteers as they completed the 400 m swim, 20 km bike ride and 5 km run on Sunday 14th April.
The team have been supported throughout the challenge by Henshaws Housing and Support staff and volunteers including Alastair Locke, who came up with the original idea to enter a team and ran their twice weekly training sessions.
The team have been gradually building up their fitness from a basic level. It was brilliant to see everyone complete their sections of the event and to know that all their hard work had paid off.
Tracey Clarke, aged 39, and Michael Dawson, 37, were first away in the pool, supported by volunteers who swam alongside to help keep them in the swim lanes and let them know when to turn.
Shelley Moore, 32, and Samuel Garwood, 38, completed the 20km undulating bike course on tandems steered by sighted volunteers in just over an hour.
On the day it was quite windy and there were a few hills to climb but I really enjoyed it. My mum and dad came to watch and I got lots of cheers at the end! I’m already thinking about my next challenge – I’d like to do another triathlon and this time complete the run as well as the cycle.
Jennie Hayes, aged 36, and Karen Briggs, 31 completed the 5km run around Aireville Park with volunteer guides who ran alongside them.
Paul Mathieson, from triathlon organisers Freebird Events, described the team’s achievement as “truly inspirational”.
Frank Ward, Director of Henshaws Housing and Support said:
All of the team made splendid achievements, some in events that they didn’t even know they could do before starting out on this challenge! We are particularly keen to support people to access activities like the triathlon as we aim to enable people to do as much as possible for themselves and make the best of their abilities.
There’s no rest for the team as they are hoping to enter similar events in future and are looking for volunteers to help with their ongoing training. Please contact John Fox, Volunteer Coordinator for more details on 01423 799612 or email firstname.lastname@example.org