Friday, 23 April 2021

Triathlon is fun event for all ages

MORE than 800 children took part in the Kids’ Fun Triathlon in Henley on Saturday

MORE than 800 children took part in the Kids’ Fun Triathlon in Henley on Saturday.

It was the sixth year of the annual event, which is held at Henley leisure centre in Gillotts Lane and in the grounds of neighbouring Gillotts School and organised by UK Triathlon.

It was followed by an adult triathlon on Sunday.

The children completed different distances depending on their age. Seven- and eight-year-olds swan 25m of the centre’s pool, then cycled 1km and ran 500m around a course on the school playing fields.

The nine- to 12-year-olds swam 50m, cycled 2km and ran 1km while the 13- to 16-year-olds swam 100m, cycled 3km and ran 1.5km.

Each participant was awarded a medal and a T-shirt for completing the challenge. Entrants came from Henley and surrounding villages and further afield.

Among them was eight-year-old Felix Richardson, of Deanfield Avenue, Henley, who finished second in his age category after completing the event for the second year running.

His time was eight minutes and 36 seconds, more than a minute faster than last year, which put him in the top two out of 239 children.

His father Matt Richardson said: “He was just doing the event for fun but he had a massive improvement in his time. His first remark was ‘wow’.

“Felix loves cycling. There is a youth triathlon club in Henley, which he is on the waiting list for but they don’t take people until they are 11 and it’s difficult to find a group who take under-11s.

“I go for bike rides with him occasionally and take him swimming at the weekend.”

Felix, who attends Sacred Heart Primary School, also completed the team triathlon with fellow pupils Charlotte and Edward Tong, both eight.

Mr Richardson, who founded Henley cycling club GS Henley, said: “It is an extremely well-run even and huge fun.”

The medals were presented by Henley Mayor Julian Brookes and Deputy Mayor Will Hamilton.

Councillor Hamilton said: “I was there all afternoon until all 824 children had come through.

“We are very keen to support sport in the town. I was amazed at how many people were there and not just from Henley. It was fantastic to see everyone do their bit.”

Race director Keith Hancock said: “The event is growing every year. When we started six years ago there were 160 competitors and this year we had well over 800.

“It was a perfect event and it was a great day. Gillotts School is a brilliant venue. We will definitely be returning next year.”

Mr Hancock thanked the sports leaders from the secondary school who helped out over the weekend.

He said: “They come along and do a fantastic job from the beginning to the end. They are a great asset to the event.”

Almost 550 people took part in the adult triathlon.

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