Kensal Tri Team hope to raise £50k

The Kensal Rise team at last year's triathlon

The Kensal Rise team prepare. - Credit: Giles Deards

Kensal Rise neighbours are calling for more to join them enter Blenheim Palace Triathlon to raise £50,000 for local charities. 

The Kensal Tri team is this year supporting 24 good causes but the social group has placed an emphasis on making friends over sporting greatness. 

Members can complete the three events as a team. In the sprint distance - one of the most popular, one member will swim up to 800m in open-water then pass the baton to a cyclist to pedal 20km before the final member will run 5km. There is also an option for anyone to do all three disciplines solo.

Swimmers train at Merchant Taylor lake

Swimmers train at Merchant Taylor lake - Credit: Giles Deards

Shorter relay and individual events are also on offer to competitors. 

And as has been the case in previous years, the Brent & Kilburn Times is media partner.

Giles Deards, organiser of the Kensal Tri Team, said the group is unusual in that they are not a sports club and many of the 200-strong team have only just met and have never taken part in sporting events. 

“We are all super-excited to bring so many of us together and would love to have more people join us,” said Mr Deards, who is also a trustee for refugee charity Salusbury World. 

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“Either just to enjoy the free or discounted local fitness opportunities, or also for the big day in beautiful Blenheim Palace grounds on May 28. 

“Our approach is all about inclusivity, participation and giving it a go. Blenheim’s short events mean they suit all ages and fitness levels, with our youngest team member being four and the oldest is 72. And, thanks to Swimming Nature, we’re even training adults who have never been able to swim before.” 

Franklin Primary School get involved

Franklin Primary School get involved - Credit: Giles Deards

Together with more than 50 children from local schools, they have been organising free or discounted local training over the past four months.  

“We are determined to do good in the hood,” Mr Deards added. 

“The team is so large they braved the chilly water they staged a Kensal Takeover of the whole lake at Merchant Taylor in Northwood last week to give many of the team their first experience of open water swimming.” 

A cycle ride training in Richmond Park

A cycle ride training in Richmond Park - Credit: Giles Deards

Fundraising is not essential and the event is open to those who just want to take part. The team is formed of people from various walks of life around the Queen’s Park and Kensal areas. 

Among them is Jude Enright, headteacher of Queen’s Park Community School.

She said: “Swimming is my favourite sport but the weeds and cold lake pose a challenge for my resilience. 

“The school team hopes to raise £15,000 for our exciting 3G pitch project. This will help everyone locally to get healthy and connect with each other.”

The Genius family take part

The Molyneaux family take part - Credit: Giles Deards

Gordi Thompson, parent association member Princess Frederica’s school in Kensal Green, said she was proud to be part of the biggest Kensal Tri Team. 

She said “Our 30-strong team is really nervous but excited to be doing this. We hope to raise £15,000 for our school hall refurb. It’s also fantastic to be part of such a wider community spirit, with so many local people training together to raise funds for so many local charities”.

Sally Wilton, owner of the Lexi Cinema, which donates all its profits to charity, said: “Our three relay teams have certainly never done anything like this before.

“There may well need to be some walking, as well as running, involved. But we wanted to be part of this amazing community spirit and to raise funds so our Lexi Community Hub can continue to offer our popular screenings for refugees and other key local groups.”

Kensal Tri cyclists train in Richmond Park

Kensal Tri cyclists train in Richmond Park - Credit: Giles Deards

The charities in the Kensal Rise area currently benefiting so far from the fundraising are Ark Franklin Primary, Avenues Youth Project, Brent Centre for Young People, Brent Foodbank, Brent Schools FA, Community Action Against Dementia - Brent, Cricklewood Library, Dalgarno Trust, Elders Voice, Gift Your Neighbour, Granville Community Kitchen, Kensal Green Under 5s Nursery, Kensal Rise Library, Laurence’s Larder, Let’s Grow Brent, Lexi Cinema, Malorees Infant & Junior School, Princess Fredericas, Promise Foundation, QPCS, Refugee Education UK (REUK), Salusbury World, St Agnes Catholic Primary School, Willesden Mutual Aid, and 9Kitchens.

Mr Deards said: “We owe huge thanks to Jamie Baird PT, Moberly Sports Centre, Storm LDN, Swimming Nature at the Maqam Centre, Willesden Sports Centre, Gym Locomotive, David Lloyd Cricklewood, Aloha Tri, Hampstead Tri Club, Queens Park Harriers for their free or discounted training. And Rise Design Studio, Daniels, Winkworth, Rigby & Merchant Estate Agents, bagsoflove.co.uk, Cuore Deli, Sanzio for their generous sponsorship of our teams – a fantastic all-round community effort”.

The Kensal Tri team is also happy for anyone to come forward to fundraise for other charities at other sporting events over the summer - for which details will be made available later on. 

To donate, sponsor or sign-up for Blenheim please visit www.kensaltri.com.