Tri juniors convert 800 miles into £5k

The Alnwick Tri Juniors who took part in the fund-raiser.
The Alnwick Tri Juniors who took part in the fund-raiser.

Alnwick Tri Juniors have raised more than £5,000 for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle by swimming, running and cycling more than 800 miles in 10 hours.

Inspired by one of the club members who is awaiting open-heart surgery, the youngsters came up with a plan to try and raise as much money as possible for CHUF by doing a sponsored triathlon at Willowburn Sports and Leisure Centre. One of the juniors, Jack Carrigan, set up a fund-raising page, and even made a video to go with it.

During the day, 26 juniors took part, but it was Jack and another member, Robert Stephenson, who truly pushed themselves to the limit by cycling for eight hours, covering just more than 150 miles each. But there were other heroes too. One of the dads, John Frater, cycled non-stop for four hours, covering 80 miles; another Dad, Steve Carragher, swam 112 lengths of the pool and junior Amy Thorne swam well over a mile in under half-an-hour.

Between them, the group clocked up 20 miles in the pool, 700 miles on the spin bikes and 100 miles on the treadmills.

Alnwick Tri was also incredibly touched that another junior triathlon club, One Life Racing, based in Hexham, decided to run its own endurance triathlon to add to the fund-raising total. The event the following day at Wentworth Leisure Centre, added more than £450 to the total.

Special thanks went to two of the parents, Sally Carrigan and Claire Stewart, who spent weeks organising the event and making sure everything ran smoothly during the gruelling challenge. Thanks also went to the staff at Willowburn, who generously allowed the club to use the facilities.

The juniors had set an original target of £1,000 on their Just Giving Page, but when all the sponsorship money had been counted, they were stunned to realise that they had raised more than five times that amount.

The team at the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital has thanked the club on its Facebook page, describing the juniors as inspirational.