The launch of Para Tri, the UK’s first ever mass-participation event dedicated to people with disabilities, was announced today by Olympic sprinter and TV personality Iwan Thomas, Lance Corporal Derek Derenalagi and Paralympian and founder Sophia Warner. The inaugural paratriathlon will be held at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic rowing venue Dorney Lake on Sunday 9 August 2015.
Para Tri builds on the legacy of the Paralympics, but with one fundamental difference – it isn’t just for the elite. It gives the one million people with disabilities who participate in sport regularly, and those who want to be more active, the chance to come together, compete and have fun on a dedicated playing field for the first time.
Participants can choose from five very different paratriathlon distances, which have been designed for every fitness level and ability. The ‘Sprint Para Tri’ is aimed at absolute beginners – and if participants want to face the challenge with able-bodied family, friends and colleagues they can invite them to make up a team for one of the two Para Tri relay events. Athletes looking for a serious challenge can sign up to the ‘Full Para Tri’ and take on the same distances as our elite paratriathletes at Rio 2016.
Paralympian and Para Tri founder Sophia Warner commented, “In 1998 I was the first disabled participant to complete the London Triathlon. Even as an elite athlete I found the prospect of entering an able-bodied event daunting. Disability sport falls into two main categories: rehabilitation and elite – with very few opportunities for the majority in between. Para Tri is the realisation of a long-held dream to create a series of dedicated events that anyone with a disability can enter.”
“Mass-participation events have boomed over the past decade and attract huge interest and participation numbers. It’s time there was an event dedicated to people with disabilities on the calendar. And this is just the beginning. There are many more Para Series events in the pipeline. Para Tri is primarily about getting stuck in and having fun, but it’s also a chance to complete a challenge with real bragging rights,” added Iwan Thomas MBE.
Lance Corporal Derek Derenalagi, who is also supported by Help for Heroes said: “High-profile events like the Paralympics have inspired the nation, and the number of people with disabilities involved in sport has never been higher. We hope Para Tri will help this trend to continue. This is going to be a fantastic event for everyone to get involved in. Families and friends can compete together or you can take on the challenge on your own. There is something for everyone.”
Para Tri at Dorney Lake is the first in a series of mass participation events planned for people with disabilities. Para Tri’s official charity partners are The Children’s Trust, the UK’s leading charity for brain injury, and Help for Heroes, set up to support servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing injuries in the line of duty.