Fund-raiser for heart unit expands its reach

Alnwick Tri Juniors after they raced at the One Life Triathlon earlier this year in Hexham.
Alnwick Tri Juniors after they raced at the One Life Triathlon earlier this year in Hexham.

A triathlon club’s fund-raiser, inspired by a member awaiting open-heart surgery, has grown into a major event involving more than 70 athletes.

As reported by the Gazette last month, the Alnwick Tri Juniors were planning to swim, bike and run as far as they could in five hours on Saturday, November 14, at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre.

One of the club’s members is receiving treatment at the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and is on the waiting list for open-heart surgery, so the event will be supporting the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).

But the demand from the juniors, their parents and adult tri members to raise funds means the challenge will now start at 10am and go through to 7pm, when the juniors will finish off the day with an hour-long mini-triathlon – a total of 10 hours’ swimming, biking and running.

Some of the Alnwick Dolphins and Minnows have also pledged to get sponsorship and will add their swim lengths that day to the total distance covered.

As if that wasn’t enough, One Life Racing, from Hexham, saw the video which had been made by one of the juniors to promote the challenge and has committed to swimming, biking and running for a total of six hours that same weekend at Hexham Leisure Centre.

To donate, visit or text TRIA59 followed by the amount to 70070, eg, TRIA59 £5.

Tracey Sample, head coach for the junior section at Alnwick, said: “We are astounded at the interest that this challenge has generated and are so grateful to all the additional supporters who have signed up to help us raise funds for this vital, life-saving Unit at the Freeman.

“What started off as 20 youngsters taking part in a one-hour mini-triathlon fund-raiser is now a 16-hour mammoth challenge involving more than 70 athletes. I am immensely proud of the juniors in this region. They are amazing.”