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London Triathlon 2007 

Ben Cope, Team "Iron Man Heroes": "An unforgettable day of racing and supporting....Exhilaration in the race off between Parents for Children teams, baking heat, though not one PfC vest walking on the run and a prime spot in the Fox at Excel pub for watching friends and fellow fundraisers go by.......Not to mention the beer and food afterwards (thanks to Navig8).....and who will forget the 60 teddy bears!?"

 Caroline Kloiber - Organiser and member of Team "Girl Power": "The best day.....I loved every moment from being the organiser to running in the 10k for Girl Power..and to think it was for such a good cause......roll on next year!!"

Julie Cameron-Doe, Team "Windsor Castle 2": "Our all female team are keen runners with a club and have never attempted a Triathlon before. We loved it! Our swimmer is now hooked and has bought a bike and i'm keen to have a go at more bike events. Thanks to Parents for Children for organising the entries and for giving us the opportunity to try something different. Hope to see you there again next year!"

London Triathlon 2006 

John Coppock, 43, completed the London Triathlon in 2006 to raise money for Parents for Children. Here's John's story:

"I had failed to run the London Marathon in April, 2006 for Parents for Children due to injury, and wanted something equally dramatic to aim for later in the year to make up for it. A friend of mine at my son's swimming club suggested having a bash at the triathlon, since I was already a runner and keen cyclist, and simply needed to be able to complete the swim. So I signed up for the Sprint distance of the London Triathlon – half a mile swim, 13-mile bike ride and 3½ mile run – and took some swimming lessons to strengthen my stroke. Being taught to swim properly in the same classes as my seven-year-old caused huge amusement to the kids, though I found it far harder holding my beer belly in with all the mums watching. I hired a wetsuit, and you can imagine the gasps that greeted me when I gave it a test drive in the local pool. One small boy asked his mum whether I was a seal who had escaped from the zoo, while I earned my first and only-ever wolf whistle .. from another bloke.

 The training was quite easy – I knocked off a few half-marathons and regularly cycled the nine miles from my house to work, and continued the swimming training, progressing from a mad doggy paddle to a reasonable front crawl. Getting sponsorship proved harder than I had thought, not least as a great many friends and colleagues simply did not believe that a man who used to smoke 20 a day and was so well known in the Dog and Duck that a barstool was named after me could complete a gruelling triathlon. Half a dozen of the "sponsorship" pledges were actually bets that I wouldn't do it, where I had to pay if I failed, and I resorted to threatening a few people that I would send them a picture of me in a wetsuit if they failed to divvy up. This had at least 20 of the office women pledging a tenner on the spot.

And so the big day dawned – on August 5, 2006 I went down to the London Docklands armed with wetsuit, bike, a Parents for Children running vest and a spare pair of shorts just in case anything untoward happened in moment of panic. The swim was an absolute shocker – swimming in a dock is vastly different from swimming in a pool. You can't see the bottom, there are feet all around you splashing your face, and the water of the Thames is quite disgusting. Was that a banana skin that just floated past me, or something worse? Swallowing Thames water required a tetanus injection afterwards, and it's also much harder swimming through dense salt water than chlorinated pool water – just about the difference between walking and running. After a nightmare 35 minutes on the most exhausting swim I'd ever done, I was finally hauled out by a helper before being disinfected in a shower sprayed with Dettol – how nice!

The bike ride across Docklands was a doddle, although not helped by a tourist in his car who wandered onto the supposedly traffic-free roads before being ordered off by the marshalls before he knocked anyone off. And there are hills in Docklands! How does that happen – aren't docks supposed to be flat? The final run was fairly easy, and I crossed the line in a triumphant one hour and 52 minutes, which was considered quite good for a man of my age as it was under the magic two hours.

In all, a great experience, not least for the bragging rights and a refreshing pint afterwards on my favourite stool. But what was that I was picking out of my ears for two weeks afterwards .....?"

 


If you'd like to share your own fundraising story with us, we'd love to receive it. Please email [email protected].