Triathlon makes a big change for a local inspirational group

One of the competitors of the triathlon
One of the competitors of the triathlon

A small group of blind and visually impaired members of 4Sight Vision Support joined 200 plus able-bodied competitors to take part in the Mid Sussex Triathlon Club’s Open Meeting.

Last year, a group entered and gained so much from the experience that 4Sight Vision Support and asked if they could enter this year’s race held on June 10 at the Triangle Leisure Centre.

A member of that charity said: “As you can imagine, training with very low or no vision is a challenge as the competitor often need a guide. So that is two people training together on a regular basis. Because of this, the Mid Sussex Tri Club kindly agreed to let 4Sight Vision Support members compete on a relay basis. It was still quite an undertaking for these competitors. So this year 4Sight had two teams with two of last year’s competitors deciding they wanted to take part again this year.

“With help and support from Mid Sussex Tri Club, the competitors had a wonderful time.”

It is said that they were, and, indeed still are, ‘dining out’ on the experience. Their confidence levels have been enormously boosted.

Belinda Ault, one of the competitors, was literally jumping up and down having completed the bike ride, having only the previous week ridden a tandem for the first time. She was just so excited and pleased that she had at last come first in something.

Bernice Stephen, who swam and ran and who had been on the verge of pulling out of the run because she thought it might be too much, now wants to do all the disciplines next year.

Julia Kirkham was more than delighted that she had a faster time this year on the back of 4Sight’s own tandem.

Tim Bayliss and Dave Standing competed the run again this year after a difficult year, and hopefully has boosted his confidence.

Members of 4Sight Vision Support’s would like to thank the following Mid Sussex Tri Club members: Chris Dawson and Callum Murray who agreed to be tandem pilots for our competitors and to Steve McMenamin, Jo Fleming, Ben Fergie and Lawrence Wintergold for all their help, advice and support both before and during the event.

All the other competitors who seemed to be cheering on and encouraging visually impaired competitors, urging them to get to the finish.

“Thank you all so much, it really is fantastic for 4Sight Vision Support members to be given the opportunity to enter this very friendly and well organised event which has boosted their egos and raised their confidence levels, it really has made a difference to their lives, and hopefully join in next year,” said community fundraiser, Anna Sherwood.