The Blenheim Palace Triathlon is one of the largest triathlon events to take place in Britain and, this year, a team of five young people from London took part in the event for the first time thanks to Badu Sports, a charity who use physical activity as a tool for educational and community development.
Two of the team who took part were Naomi Donkor and Miles Buffong, both taking part in their first triathlon and completing the supersprint distance of 400m swim, 13.3km bike and 2.9km run.
Speaking about why he decided to get involved with Badu’s triathlon programme, Buffong said: “I decided to get involved with the triathlon programme because I really wanted to push my limits.
“I wanted to test myself and see what I am capable of with just a short amount of training. Not only that but I wanted to experience something completely different to what I would normally do and share my story to those who feel like they could not be able to do it.”
Ahead of the event, the five young people all embarked on a journey of swim, bike, run training. As part of their training, the team of five undertook regular training across the three disciplines, swimming together four times a week, cycling three times a week and running on their own throughout the week.
Reflecting on the training, Donkor commented: “The hardest training for me was the swimming. Although I could swim before, it was only the basics. I couldn’t even do front crawl but by the end of training I was able too which was really good. The running and bike training was fairly more simple than the swimming.
“On race day I felt very nervous but the type of nervous that had the adrenaline pumping and I was ready to go. Once I got in the water I knew to myself that it wasn’t going to be as hard as I thought it was and I ended up really enjoying it.
“My favourite part of the event was the swimming. I think it’s because it was the first one and so I had the most energy for it compared to the bike ride and the run.”
As with his teammate, Buffong enjoyed the event experience despite it being something he’d never considered doing before.
“On the day of the race I just felt really excited and glad to be here and experiencing every moment of it,” he said. “Growing up I would have never thought I would be taking part in a triathlon, so all nervousness went out the window and kept a clear mind.
“My favourite part of the event was seeing my teammates finish the race with a smile and walking over collecting their medals just seeing how far they have come from not knowing how to swim properly to finishing a triathlon just go to show nothing is impossible. Nothing.”
Having had this first opportunity, both Donkor and Buffong are looking forward to taking part in a triathlon event again.
“I will indeed be doing it again,” Donkor concluded. “Hopefully in May as I enjoyed myself a lot. This time round I’m going to try and beat my time so let’s see how I do.”
Buffong added: “I am going to do it again I hope to be there at the next one this is just one of many and I hope many other people of my age and ethnic background see this not only just a challenge but an amazing experience.”
To find out more about Badu Sports and the work that they do, click on the button below.
British Triathlon and the Home Nations continue to provide guidance to event organisers and event participants to help them to run and take part in swim, bike, run events in a Covid Secure way. The Blenheim Palace Triathlon has demonstrated its application of these requirements in addition to the safety processes required to receive an event permit from British Triathlon.
You can view the guidance for event participants and search for other permitted events and beginner focussed GO TRI events by clicking on the buttons below.