There were no masks or guns at the start of the Henley Highwayman event on Friday evening just wetsuits, goggles and hats being worn for the first part of this new 3 day multi-sport event starting with a swim in the river Thames. Around 300 competitors took up the challenge of the swim, run or bike ride – or all 3. People could choose from three different distances for each discipline, allowing people to do as much or as little as they choose. An innovative points structure keeping the focus very much on personal challenge.
Sue Ryder was the charity partner and entered a team which was made up of Vicky Elson Smith who is a physiotherapist at the hospice, brother and sister James Powell and Sam Wallis-Robinson whose mother Christine died at the hospice in 2002. Vicky did the swim and said, “It was mentally tough, and because of the wind the water was very choppy with lots of waves which made the challenge even harder. I was so pleased to complete my part of the challenge.” Sam said, “I really enjoyed the beautiful bike course, it was a good challenge on another windy day and I managed it with a broken shoulder. We’re delighted to have already hit our target of £300 for Sue Ryder.”
Councillor Will Hamilton who took part in the 3 day event said, “So pleased to have completed the inaugural Henley Highwayman, a new breed of multi sport event. This was something I wanted to do, having supported it in council meetings right from the outset. I knew it would be tough physically and painful in places, but honestly didn’t know that I could do it, I’m just so pleased to have made it to the end. It was a magnificent event, very well organised, bringing people to our town and the surrounding villages and I very much hope it becomes a landmark fixture in the Henley sporting calendar. And many more local and national people can take up this challenge.”
Team baby Rufus (pictured above) with Grandad (Steve) and Dad (Jonathan) who lives in Henley said, “I really enjoyed the lovely course, it was my first cycle sportive event and it was great to do with my Dad.” Peter McConnell, Town Centre Manager did the 120km bike race and said on Twitter afterwards, “Congratulations to everyone @triwayman what a great new event for the town, hope it grows and grows, but remind me just to do the sprint!!”
Ali Bird, Associate Director at Savills who were the main sponsor of the event said, “We were thrilled with the success of the first Henley Highwayman event this weekend. Nick Warner (Sales), Richard Maby, myself and Hugh Maconochie (Country Houses) took part in the challenge over three glorious sunny days, and joined the rest of the participants in being stunned by the spectacular scenery on both the cycle and run sections. Many of our clients and contacts were involved in the event, and we all benefited from having it as a fitness target this year. Savills thoroughly enjoyed the experience of meeting vendors, potential purchasers, landlords and tenants alike who were involved, and were very proud of being an integral part of the business community in Henley-on-Thames. Staff members and their families also came to watch the event and enjoy the ambience, and to see Henley-on-Thames looking its very best, and shown off to visiting athletes and local competitors.”
Jeremy Laming, Co organiser said, “It’s been a fantastic first event, with lots of great feedback and definitely one that we can build on for next year.”
On Sunday, the Mayor started the run from Market Place and at the end of the 3 day challenge, the winners got their hands on some guns and a Highwayman hat. Toby Garbett (an ex GB rower) won the Full Distance title and was Joint Overall Winner with Reece Barclay with 280 points. Jennifer Lande won the Mid Distance title and Stephen Brown from Henley won the Sprint Distance.
Steve Brown said, “This is a very proud moment for me – a podium presentation outside the Town Hall after winning the sprint distance and being presented with a signed copy of Henley Highwayman painting by Carolyn Tyrer. I’d like to thank Ali Bird from Savills who gave me invaluable free coaching when I first moved to Henley a year or so ago, introduced me to lots of inspirational athletes, and gave me the confidence to push on to better things when I did not believe in myself.”
For full results can be found at www.henleyhighwayman.co.uk/results/