Paralympian Olivia Breen cheered on 22 teams of sporting superheroes representing international disability charity Leonard Cheshire at a fully inclusive sports event last weekend.
Traveling from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the charity’s participants enjoyed an exciting day of competition at the Superhero Triathlon at Dorney Lake in Windsor on Saturday 17 August.
With lead event sponsors being Disney’s Marvel, Breen donned a Captain Marvel outfit to support the Leonard Cheshire teams.
Breen, who was announced as the charity’s new sports ambassador earlier this year, commented: “I had such a great day out at the Superheroes Triathlon and was thrilled to have been asked to help cheer on Team Leonard Cheshire. It was so much fun to get dressed up as Captain Marvel for some of the day too!
“Sport can be such an important part of life and it was great to see the participants enjoying the day and expressing themselves through sport. It’s important that people can see the value of sport and events like this really help to demonstrate the limitless talents disabled people have.”
Participants from Leonard Cheshire’s ‘Can Do Sport’ programme as well its residential care homes and services across the country put their skills to the test by taking part in either a swim, bike ride or a push/run of varying distances.
Talking about the event, Pete Donnelly, Leonard Cheshire’s ‘Can Do’ Programme Manager, who also competed in the swim element of the triathlon, said: “It’s a huge, inclusive triathlon where people can get involved no matter what kind of adaptive equipment they need to use.
“Setting yourself a challenge and then going out and really achieving it can be a massive boost to your self-esteem and can really help you realise what you actually can do.
“The confidence gained from taking part in events like this can also make daily challenges seem smaller by comparison.”
The mass participation event also featured a celebrity race which gave participants a chance to compete alongside well-known Paralympic athletes.
Leonard Cheshire’s team members from Randall Close, a day centre in London, spoke enthusiastically about the competition. Essie Flemming commented, “It was one of the things I’ve always wanted to do but never had anyone to go with. I usually watch it on TV. I enjoyed every single second of it, it was so exciting! I would love to go again so put my name down for next year!’
Helen Iremiren, who also competed, added: “It was a great day! There were lots of people and I enjoyed every bit of it. I hope we can do it again next year.”
Adding to the excitement, all participants received a medal for their efforts. “It was fantastic; full of fun and very exciting, I showed my medal to everyone,” enthused Marvin Alfonso.
“I put photos on Facebook, my family and friends are very proud of me. It was lovely that the staff were happy to work on Saturday to race with us, I can’t wait to do it again.”
Angela Loughran, Enablement Coordinator at Randall Close, accompanied her team to the triathlon and also took part. Summarising the day out she said: “Our team attended the Superhero Tri for the second year running, as it was so much fun last time! It’s amazing to be able to take part in such an inclusive event, everyone feels supported by each other and can be free to ‘be themselves’.”