While the phenomenal Brownlee brothers are Olympic medal winners, here in the North East we have our own extremely special triathletes.
Now in its fourth year, The Children’s Disability Triathlon in Newcastle is an event designed especially for children who would normally be challenged by the thought of doing a triathlon.
Created by Jo Shallcross and Tracey Sample, it gives children with disabilities the chance to take part in a traditional triathlon – swimming, cycling and running – by adapting distances according to ability and with all the support they need.
Jo, from Ponteland, is a coach and director of The Barn [fitness business]. She has raced triathlon for Great Britain and now mainly races Ironman or 70.3 (half Ironman).
Jo says: “This is an event we’re extremely proud of. It’s a wonderfully relaxed and positive day and the enthusiasm of everyone involved has to be seen to be believed.
“For our athletes, it’s all about taking part, building confidence and doing something they may think they can’t do. They’re just bursting with pride afterwards.
“We can adapt the triathlon for any disability by adjusting distances, incorporating specialist equipment and support. What’s important is getting every child who wants to take part involved and we get wonderful feedback from parents and carers.”
Team Valley-based print management company, SOS Group Ltd, is proudly supporting The Children’s Disability Triathlon this year by sponsoring medals and t-shirts for all participants.
Andrew Skelton, director at SOS Group, says: “It means a lot to us to be involved with this wonderful triathlon.
“The participants deserve recognition for their efforts and we’re very glad to help by giving them something to remember the day by.
“We’re told some of the children went to sleep wearing their triathlon t-shirts last year and just full of what they’ve achieved. That’s what this event is all about.”
SOS Group has a longstanding tradition of local charity support. They are the key sponsor for fundraiser Mark ‘Run Geordie Run’ Allison and long-time supporters of Special Olympics Gateshead.
Macey Cowell from Kingston Park is 13-years-old and has taken part in all three previous Children’s Disability Triathlons.
She is a pupil at Percy Hedley School and has a neurological condition, cerebellar hypoplasia, which affects her speech, balance and behaviour.
Macey’s mum, Lisa Scott, says: “Most parents and children take for granted that they can all enjoy this kind of day together.
“It’s such a relaxed event and to see Macey involved is such a joy. She absolutely loves it and I’m really proud of her.”
Macey says: “I love taking part. It’s a very big thing for me. I like the swimming, cycling and running all the same. It’s hard but worth it in the end.”
Based at the David Lloyd Club in Gosforth, The Children’s Disability Triathlon supports the Heel and Toe Charity, with some participants choosing to be sponsored for taking part for this and other charities.
The Children’s Disability Triathlon is on Sunday 18th September and is for children between the ages of 5 – 16. Entry costs £20 to enter with the last registrations on 16th September.
For further information about the event, or to book a place, please visit: www.britishtriathlon.org/events or email firstname.lastname@example.org.