Blackshots triathletes raise over £10,000 for St Luke’s Hospice

THEY swam, rode and ran sometimes in a howling gale and rain but there were smiles on the faces of almost 200 participants in the latest St Luke’s Triathlon which is expected to raise around £10,000 for the hospice.The annual event, in its sixth year, attracted a record number of entrants who gathered at Blackshots Leisure Centre in Grays on Sunday where they started with 12 lengths of the pool.Organisers and a large team of volunteers were out much earlier, setting up the course for the cycling and running legs of the event from 3.30am. After exiting the pool participants, including many first time triathletes inspired by the Olympics and the ideal of helping St Luke’s, took on two laps cycling through the rural lanes of Orsett and Stifford Clays before running a 5k double lap course of Blackshots playing fields.The event, recognised by the British Triathlon governing body as major event, started and ended in mid October sunshine but in between a burst of ferociously windy, wet weather battered some participants and soaked the hardy band of volunteers.However, the elements couldn’t wipe the smiles off the faces of finishers and their supporters in what was described by one participant as a “joyous and well run event.”Nor too were the supporters of St Luke’s disheartened. Event organiser Kerry Chambers said: “This was our sixth event and it just seems to get better. Everyone who took part, both helpers and the participants, said they thoroughly enjoyed it.”I would like to thank all the volunteers, the athletes and fundraisers and all those who supported us in so many ways including the Port of Tilbury, Impulse Leisure and Thurrock Council. Their support and the efforts of so many kind people leave me confident we will smash the £10k fundraising mark for the first time when all the sponsorship money comes in.”And now we can go and do it all again next year!”

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