Over 200 triathletes gathered at Lancaster University on Sunday to take part in a very special challenge.
The event – the first of this kind – was held in memory of Dr Andy Bailey, a lecturer at the University’s Management School who passed away last year from cancer. Friends, former colleagues and enthusiastic members of the public joined forces to create a uniquely moving tribute: a glorious sporting effort raising over £10,000 in much-needed funds for St John’s Hospice.
Individuals and teams of sporty fundraisers ran, swam and cycled around the University’s parkland campus, cheered on by an army of supporters, friendly race volunteers and confused ducks. For many participants, this was their very first triathlon experience.
Competitors started off with a 400m swim in the Sports Centre pool, before cycling 20km and running the final 5km around the University grounds. Some completed all three parts of the gruelling challenge, while others contributed to a team effort. The main triathlon was complemented by a fun run, with 21 children taking part.
Andrew Horn, a member of City of Lancaster Triathlon (COLT), claimed victory for the men. In the women’s category, Emily Douglas took 1st place. She is a current 3rd year student at Lancaster Medical School and a member of the University Tri club. In the relay race, The University Sports Centre Team won, completing the course in the fastest overall time. Prizes have also been awarded to the top fundraisers.
Steve Kempster, one of the organisers of the event, paid tribute to the supermen and wonder women who displayed such tremendous community spirit – a spirit he says his friend, Andy Bailey, would have appreciated.
“It was a very special day,” he said. “Special in the sense that it was the first time we had put together a triathlon on campus – my goodness, what a complex process! But so many people stepped up and helped, led by Maggie Wild – fantastic and a big thank you from all of us. We had around 220 people participating and so many staff and friends in the event or marshalling. Special because we raised over £10,000 for St John’s Hospice… and so, so special as a celebration of the life of Dr Andy Bailey – it would have been his 51st birthday.”
Kim Jenkinson, Community Fundraiser for St John’s Hospice, praised athletes and organisers alike for their dedication. “We are so grateful that the University chose to support their local hospice in what was a fantastically organised event in memory of one of their dear colleagues. It was a pleasure to be there on the day to witness everyone taking on the challenge, and we can’t thank the participants and the organisers at Lancaster University enough.”
Organisers wish to thank everyone who helped make the event a success, including the volunteers and The Runners Centre, City of Lancaster Triathlon club (COLT), My Tri Events, William Pye Ltd, Joey’s Café, Sprint Finish Photography, The Borough, Graduway, Sleeker Swim, Andy Holgate, Lancaster University Sports Centre, Costa, Runners Centre and Lancaster University Students’ Union.