Wakefield Junior Triathlon Club’s training sessions are taking them all the way to Monte Carlo this week – well, in terms of distance covered at least, with the local swimming pool and athletics track their actual destination rather than the famous Monte Carlo marina and Formula 1 track.
The club, which has members aged 6-16, has embarked on a charity challenge to swim, bike and run the distance from their West Yorkshire base to Monte Carlo across their training sessions.
Andy Brook, Chair of Wakefield Junior Triathlon Club, said: “The reason for this challenge is to first of all raise money for the three charities [Cystic Fibrosis Trust, UK Deaf Sport and JDRF – Diabetes Research] which all directly affect members of our junior club, but also to raise awareness of the club. Whilst we’ve now got really strong 12/13/14-year-old numbers, we haven’t seen people coming in at the younger end of the age spectrum.
“We take kids as young as six and take them right through their TriStar Start and TriStar 1 experience so part of it is to promote triathlon and the club in the local area so we can try and recruit younger juniors. It’s also a brilliant way of getting all our juniors working together to achieve a common goal and it’s actually been really good for their training as well as doing something fun.”
The first leg of their journey saw the club’s juniors run the equivalent distance from Wakefield to Dover, completing 1086 laps between them in just under an hour to surpass the target distance.
A day later their local swimming pool became The English Channel as 34 of the Wakefield juniors swam 2348 lengths, a total of 47.3km, again surpassing the distance they had set out to achieve to reach the French coast.
Now on the final stretch, the club’s final leg will be cycling over 1,000km from Calais to their final destination of Monte Carlo during their club bike session on Friday evening (25 March).
“The club throws itself behind things like this and, as well as the awareness raising, it’s been two really good training sessions,” Brook added. “It’s been hard, especially as we’ve had some members missing with COVID, but they’ve all really got that sense of achievement when they’re told how far they’ve achieved as a club.
“The atmosphere around the run track on Monday and again at the pool on Tuesday was really good. The numbers that we are getting at each session is there week-on-week, but to see them all getting that sense of achievement while doing it was brilliant especially being able to take that step back and see the progress the juniors have made.
“Some of the younger members two months ago would struggle to do two lengths, this week they were doing 20/30 lengths. At the other end of the spectrum, some of our older juniors were swimming comfortably at 2k distances. They’re all kids that we’ve seen come to us years ago and they’re now performing at that kind of level. When you take that step back and see the progress the juniors have made over what has been a pretty horrible two years it’s astounding.”
The club have already raised over £1,500 for the three charities, receiving support from within the club and the wider community.
“Everyone has donated the normal session fees they would normally pay to us,” Brook said. “We’ve put the sessions on for free this week and everyone’s donated as well as sharing the fundraising page and getting support from friends and family.
“The local pool agreed that instead of invoicing us for the session fee we can donate that to the charities as well. It’s gone wider than the club and we’re just trying to get as much awareness out there as possible.”
To find out more about the charity challenge, including how to donate, visit www.justgiving.com/team/WJTC