On Saturday (9 June) hundreds of young athletes descended on Gillotts School and Henley Leisure Centre for this year’s Henley UK Kids Fun Triathlon. Children from the town and beyond came to swim, bike and run their way to victory under a gloriously sunny sky. Now in its 8th year, the event drew over 700 entrants, eager to test their athletic abilities.
The contest was organised by UK Triathlon, the co-ordinators of the biggest triathlon series across the UK. Open to children aged 5 to 16, the distances varied by age category to make them achievable for all the young competitors. As they sprinted across the line, each finisher was presented with a medal by Henley Mayor, Glen Lambert. The recently inaugurated Mayor exclaimed, “This is already my favourite job so far. Who wouldn’t enjoy congratulating people and handing out medals! It’s a feel good event.”
The soaring temperature provided an added challenge for the kids. 13-year old Rosie, a Henley resident, reflected, “It was hard, and made harder by all the heat. I thought the hills would be the hardest part, but what comes up must come down, so they weren’t too bad.” Rosie had been up since 3am returning from a school trip, so was even more proud of her result. “I think I did quite well,” she said, “and overall it was fun!” Rosie’s sister, Megan (11), also took part. She said, “I feel really proud because I didn’t think I could do it but I entered anyway. It’s really nice when you finish, and when you do it with your friends.”
A number of Tri Henley members put their training to the test on Saturday. The local triathlon club, created for kids between 11 and 16 years old, trains three or four times a week. James Longvill, 12, has been a member of the club for nearly 5 years, and was pleased with his performance. “It’s fun because everyone is happy and it’s a good community spirit,” he said. “Everyone is enjoying themselves, and you get medals at the end!”
Whilst cheering on their children, many families took advantage of the beautiful weather by bringing picnics. Fuelled by finger food, the young competitors delighted in running around the Gillotts field. It certainly was a family occasion to remember, enjoyed by all ages. Congratulations to the children who took part!
On Sunday it was the turn of the adults, with over 300 people taking part individually and in relays. Congratulations to Louisa Born from Henley who won the Super Sprint Female race in a time of 11:36 and regular local mother and daughter entrants, Carrie (11:07) and Sophie (11:08) Hoskins who came third and fourth in the Sprint Female competition. In the Male Sprint competition well done to Dom Barton who was the first Henley finisher in 18th place in a time of 9:02.
For the full results go to www.uktriathlon.co.uk/events/henley-thames-triathlon/