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Six HI superheroes take part in UK’s only disability triathlon


In August six amazing HI fundraisers took part in the UK's only disability triathlon.

Superheroes Pete and John, Roy (cycling) and Carrie, Andrew and Sarah with their medals.

Superheroes Pete and John, Roy (cycling) and Carrie, Andrew and Sarah with their medals. | © HI

Everyone should have an opportunity to take part in sports, whether competitively or for fun. Triathlons are one of the most popular mass-participation sporting events in the UK but despite this Superhero Tri is the only truly inclusive triathlon. Although there are a growing number of disability sport events in the UK (and importantly changes being made by other events to become more inclusive), opportunities are still too rare. Now in its 2nd year, Superhero Tri is most definitely still leading the way.

An overcast summer’s day didn’t dampen the spirits of the more than 2,500 participants who came to the 2nd annual Superhero Tri on 18th August. Amongst the superhero participants at the beautiful Dorney Lake venue were six superheroes taking part to raise funds and awareness of HI’s work with people with disabilities worldwide. Jazz, John, Leila and Vikki HI UK office also attended to cheer the superheroes on.

A unique triathlon

Founder of Superhero Tri, Paralympian Sophia Warner, has created an event to ensure that everyone who wants to take part, can. Like any triathlon there were three stages, a swim, a cycle and a push/run/walk, but unlike other triathlons you can choose the distance you want to do, whether that’s a 'Sprint', a 'Half Tri' or a 'Full Tri'. There are also different ways that people can take part. Superheroes can go Solo, take part in a team of two or three people with everyone doing a different stage, or take part as a Superhero/Sidekick team with the Sidekick providing a bit of extra support if needed.

Sarah, Carrie and Andrew

The first HI team to start was ‘Team Sarah’, which included Carrie, Andrew and of course Sarah. Sarah and Carrie are both wheelchair users and became friends when their dogs met each other whilst out walking in the park.

It was 9:30 in the morning when Carrie started things off with an amazing 750 meter swim in the chilly waters of Dorney Lake. After the swim Carrie handed over to Sarah’s brother Andrew for the cycling stage. Andrew, who had flown down from Scotland to take part completed the cycle stage in excellent time before handing over to Sarah for the final stage. Battling head-winds for the first part of the 5 kilometer push, speed demon Sarah crossed the finish line in under 39 minutes!

Sarah, who was paralyzed in a car crash at the age of 16 has worked with people with disabilities, including people with injuries similar to hers, in developing countries and has seen first-hand the barriers many people face when trying to access services.

Pete and John

Later on in the morning it was the turn of brothers Pete and John. A painter, writer, traveler amongst many other things, Pete was paralyzed at 18 and also has limited movement in his hands. With Pete taking part in his forst triathlon, the two brothers entered the water for the opening stage soon after 11:00am. Side by side Pete and John navigated the choppy waters in very good time before starting the cycling stage. It had been 13 years since Pete had last used a hand cycle but with skill and lots of determination he made it to the final stage before whizzing round final push stage. 


The final HI superhero of the day was the brilliant Roy, a personal trainer who had taken the ferry across from the Isle of Wight early in the morning in order to take part. Roy has just started competing in triathlons and in July he and nine of his clients completed a ‘go-tri’ triathlon. What makes Roy’s achievements all the more impressive is that he has had to overcome recent challenges with his health including Rheumatoid Arthritis and Bronchiectasis. After particularly quick swim and cycle stages Roy completed the triathlon in just over 32 minutes. As the HI team watched at the finish, Roy completed the triathlon in the most superhero way possible; as he arrived at the finish line he stood to one side to allow a young superhero and his family to cross the line first!


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