Saturday, 08 May 2021

The Henley Dragons

THE Henley Dragons have been an inspiration to those around them.

Undeterred by all the lockdown restrictions and the red boards on the swollen river, the coaches have set various challenges for the team.

These virtual challenges have included running, walking, cycling or paddling various distances to achieve a collaborative team target.

Before Christmas, Henley Dragons have traversed from Henley to various competitor clubs across the country, including Liverpool, Wath upon Dearne in South Yorkshire, London and Exeter to name but a few.

The collaborative distance of 1,867.15km was completed in less than three weeks. This consisted of 414km of running, 792km of walking, 82km of cycling and 577km of paddling/rowing.

Following the festivities and building our training regime back up, the team made it their mission to “visit” a Henley Dragon who lives in Gjeratad, Norway.

Together, the team covered 3,582km in 26 days, two weeks ahead of schedule. More than 23 dragons contributed, which shows the dedication and team ethos the dragons have.

This challenge really brought the team together, fighting towards the same goal and spending time virtually to celebrate their achievements.

Most recently, the Henley Dragons embarked on an even more challenging target — to travel the length of the Nile, 6,650km.

It kicked off at the beginning of February. Not only did the team need to work together to complete the distance but there was a battle of the sexes. Who would come first, the men or the women?

After the first week we had completed 1,187km, a mighty effort.

Things only got better as the competitive nature of the team shone out with camaraderie, banter and motivational talk helping the women cross the halfway mark first.

By the three week mark, the women had travelled 2,746km while the men had managed 2,138km. A week later, the Henley Dragons had collectively travelled the entire distance and then some, achieving a total distance of 6,807km.

The Henley Dragons form part of the Eyot Centre in Henley, which is also home to Henley Canoe Club and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. The centre offers watersports facilities to everyone in Henley and the surrounding area but primarily young people.

Gearing up for what post- lockdown will look like, the youth members of Henley Dragons held a “return to training” Zoom call for all coaches across the centre.

Highlighting key safety, safeguarding, coaching, roles and responsibilities, they led the coaches through the call, highlighting important facts.

A brilliant testament to the centre and the development of its youth members.

Cat Cassell

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