The Castle Virtual Series continues this weekend (25-27 February) and one of the first names to sign up again this year was 15-year-old Bailey Matthews who has been involved in Castle Series events since 2015, where a video of him completing his first junior triathlon went viral.
Then eight years old, Matthews, who has cerebral palsy, made international headlines when he completed the 100m swim, 4km bike and 1.3km run at Castle Howard after a video of him completing the final 20m of the run without his walking frame was viewed more than 27 million times on Facebook.
He’s continued with his swim, bike, run challenges ever since, and, despite the limited in-person racing opportunities over the past two years, that hasn’t stopped Matthews from fulfilling his enjoyment of swim, bike, run, including taking part in the Castle Virtual Series in 2021 and again this year.
“Triathlon is such a big thing for me and being at events and experiencing that feeling makes you feel amazing no matter whether you come first or last, but I struggled to find motivation through lockdown with no events,” Matthews said.
“When I heard about the Castle Virtual Series it gave me that bit more motivation in order to get back training. The virtual series itself was a completely different experience, but there was still that sense of community about it and being part of something bigger, with other people joining in too and others following on social media, so it still did give you a motivational pick-up.
“When I saw it was back this year, I didn’t even have to think about it. I knew I wanted to be involved again, to be part of that event feeling even if we do have to do it individually, and it’s a way of monitoring how well I’m doing ahead of the events I’m hoping to do this year.”
The Castle Virtual Series has returned for 2022 offering a chance for members of the swim, bike, run community to stay fit and connected through the winter months.
The first race of the 2022 virtual series was held over the last weekend of January, with the second of the three events taking place this weekend (25-27 February) before the conclusion of the virtual series on 25-27 March.
Participants are able to join from anywhere in the world and can choose from a range of distances across triathlon and duathlon, as well as individual swim, cycle and run races.
Matthews and his Be More Tri Club, which is part of his Be More Bailey Charitable Foundation, decided to make the first weekend of racing a club event with members completing their individual events together.
“We did the swim in the swimming pool and everyone as a club did it together, and then I did my cycle on a static bike and then I just went around the estate for the run with my uncle,” Matthews added.
“It was great because although we were all focusing on our own races, it was motivating having other people around you. Seeing the smiles on people’s faces and being able to share that moment and our enjoyment together is what the sport is all about. It’s about having fun and taking part for the love of it and the virtual series has certainly given me that.”
There are 14 race distances to choose from across five disciplines including standard and sprint distances in triathlon and duathlon, along with distances for younger age groups in triathlon for those wanting to combine all three of swim, bike, run.
For anyone wanting to race in just one discipline, there are individual events including a 20km, 45km or 90km cycle, 5km or 10km run or a 750m or 1500m swim.
Each participant can complete their event at any time throughout the weekend, with participants needing to submit their results. The podium and notable performances from each weekend will then be announced on Facebook Live on the Monday after each event at 6pm.
Click below to find out more including how to enter.