On Saturday, I was lucky enough to cheer on hundreds of incredible tri-athletes as they took part in the 2018 Superhero Tri Series at Dorney Lake. In its second year, this event is fully inclusive; anyone can take part and compete at a variety of distances. This means that whatever your age or ability you can get involved – making sport truly accessible for everyone. Motivation had four superhero teams participating, each made up of three athletes including four wheelchair users…and boy, they did us proud!

City of Birmingham wheelchair basketball coach Andy Craddock brought along two teams, as did Motivation Ambassador Chloe Ball-Hopkins. Both teams included friends and family, some of whom really were out of their comfort zone but each and every one of them gave their all for Motivation – for which we are truly grateful.

As well as competing in their own distances, Andy and Chloe were also selected to join the celebrity teams to take part in a second race on the day! Chloe joined BBC Security correspondent and long term supporter of Motivation, Frank Gardner, while Andy teamed up with the uber-competitive para-athlete Laura Turner. For Chloe this meant having to learn to swim and take to the open waters for the first time ever! She did incredibly well and was accompanied by her boyfriend Dom, as her superhero side-kick.

Chloe preparing for her swim! 

And that’s what’s so great about this event – you’re never alone and there are plenty of people there to give advice, support and encouragement all along the way.

I saw parents proudly pushing their young children in buggies and wheelchairs, friends running hand in hand, and celebrated Team GB gold medallists competing alongside and giving encouragement to super-heroes of the future – and they were all connected – by their huge smiles!

Without fail, everyone who crossed the finishing line had a look of pure joy and accomplishment on their face. The support for everyone was fantastic and I suspect for many of the participants it was one of the most uplifting experiences of their life.

 Team Chloe - Girl Power!

Founded by London 2012 Paralympian Sophia Warner, the Superhero Tri Series received significant support from a host of celebrities including many from the world of sport and the armed forces. Channel 4 filmed the whole event and Clare Balding will present highlights from the day on a programme to be broadcast on the 1st September. Don’t miss it!

As well as the triathlons, Motivation supporter Andy also organised a wheelchair basketball match between his team the Rockets and an All-Star line-up consisting of David Weir, Adam Hills, Freya Levy and Jordon Jarrett-Bryan. A high-tempo and at times very competitive match finished with Adam Hills sinking the winner for the celebrities.

 Adam Hills shooting the winning basket

This day was a great showcase for disability sport and a reminder of the power of the human spirit. Those kids’ smiles certainly inspired me and we are already planning for 2019. So if you want to get involved in next year’s event do get in touch with us today, or if you simply want to show your support for this year’s superheroes you can still sponsor them by visiting the Team Chloe and Team Andy fundraising pages!        

Andy and Stephen crossing the finish line

Support Motivation

To make a donation to Motivation, and support thousands of disabled people throughout the developing world, click here or visit the Team Chloe and Team Andy fundraising pages.