Kensal Rise group 'biggest team' taking on Blenheim Palace Triathlon 2021
- Credit: Giles Deards
A giant group of Kensal Rise neighbours have got together to banish their lockdown blues, meet people, get fitter and raise at least £30,000 for local charities.
The 168-strong Kensal Tri Team will take on the Blenheim Palace Triathlon on September 11, after 90 participants took part in 2019.
Most participants have only just met, have been unfit through lockdown and have no prior experience of triathlon. They will become the largest group to take part in the event.
The Kensal Tri Team members will either swim 800 metres in open-water, cycle 20km or run 5.4km in one of the 21 relay teams – or do all three in the Sprint or Super Sprint events.
In preparation, 88 adults and children took over Merchant Taylor Lake in Northwood on June 12.
Giles Deards, organiser of the Kensal Tri Team and Salusbury World trustee, said: “It’s been a terrible year for so many people’s mental health and fitness, while charities have suffered from loss of fundraising events.
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"So there’s surely never been a better time to banish the Covid blues, connect people, get fitter and raise thousands for local charities.
"The response has been astonishing and says everything about how special our community is.
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"Over 20 local charities are going to benefit from the fundraising but all 155 of us are going to feel fitter, make new friends and hopefully do even more together in the future.
"Thank you to everyone for daring to ‘try the tri’ and to all our brilliant local partners and sponsors.”
Kieu-my Pham Thai, fundraising for 9Kitchens, a food project supporting vulnerable women, said “I’ve never entered an event like this before but felt after the lockdowns now had to be the right moment to start meeting people again and challenge myself.
"Also, our project supports and empowers local women but needs funds to be able to continue”.
Giorgia Michelti, fundraising for Brent Centre for Young People, said: “I’ve always wanted to do a challenging event like this but haven’t found people to do it with.
"And it’s for a cause that can’t be more important: teenage mental health in our area and in tribute to my wonderful father, Luciano, who passed away five years ago in London”.
Helen Smith, head of Malorees Infant & Junior School, said: "Although I’ve not been on a bike for years, I’m looking forward to inspiring children to set themselves a new challenge.
"Malorees is taking a team of 49 teachers and parents to Blenheim who want to fundraise and inspire children; I’m really proud of everyone taking part."
Sarah Reynolds, director of refugee charity Salusbury World, said: “It’s no secret that all charities are really struggling after so many fundraising events have been cancelled by Covid.
"It’s uplifting to see over 20 of our small local charities being supported like this.
"It gives us a boost to see how much our area cares and the money could be the difference for a small charity like ours to be able to offer after-school clubs or catch-up homework support”.
Mark Hastings of event organiser Limelight Sports said: “Blenheim Palace Triathlon is an iconic event attracting thousands of people from across the country.
"To have this level of interest from Kensal Rise, which doesn’t have a triathlon club, is staggering. It’s the biggest team at Blenheim this year by a long distance”.
Supporters include Moberly Sports Centre, Gym Locomotive, the Maqam Centre, Queens Park Harriers and Aloha Tri/Active Training World for their free or discounted training as well as personal trainers sharing their time.
Daniels Estate Agents and Winkworth, Rigby & Marchant Estate Agents, Bagsoflove and Contrado are sponsoring the team.
Charities in the Kensal Rise area benefitting from the fundraising are Salusbury World, Refugee Education UK, The Avenues Youth Project, Lexi Cinema, Elders Voice, Cricklewood Library, Ark Franklin, Queens Park Primary, Kilburn Park School, Granville Community Kitchen, North Paddington Foodbank, Sufra NW London, 9Kitchens, Laurence’s Larder, Gift Your Neighbour, Brent Centre for Young People, Salusbury School, Malorees Infant & Junior School, Kensal Rise Library, Willesden Mutual Aid Foodbank, Brent Foodbank, Roundwood Park Cafe Playground and Brent Mutual Aid Solidarity Fund.
To donate, sponsor or sign up visit: www.kensalqueenspark.com/sponsor-a-blenheim-team or bit.ly/KensalCharity.