Buckle up because it’s almost time for the Superhero Series’ annual Para Triathlon. We caught up with celebrity team captains Joy Haizelden and Anne Dickens ahead of the fun-filled sporting event.
Superhero Series is the UK’s one and only inclusive sporting event suitable for any disability with no restrictions on equipment.
Every summer the Superhero Series Triathlon takes place giving people of all abilities the chance to swim, cycle, run or walk around Dorney Lake in Windsor.
The series celebrates everyday superheroes and allows you to bring helpful sidekicks along to assist you around the course.
Every year celebrity team captains from sport and screen get ready to take part alongside everyday superheroes, just like you.
This year’s team captains include Paralympian’s Joy Haizelden and Anne Usher (nee Dickins).
Anne has taken part in Superhero Series since the very first event. “It sounded like a fabulous concept right from the very beginning and I didn’t take much convincing,” remembers Anne.
Joy has previously attended a Superhero Tri but didn’t take part, being a team captain will be her first time participating.
“In 2017 we had a British Wheelchair Basketball ‘have a go event’ at the Superhero Tri and I was one of the junior ambassadors there,” explains Joy. “The atmosphere and the passion of the people made me want to get involved, it was awesome to see.”
At every Superhero Series event there are no age limits, equipment restrictions or time cut- offs, and only one hard rule – you have to have fun. Each Superhero Tri can be described with one word: inclusivity.
For Anne, the event is a platform to promote accessible sport, something she is passionate about as a Paralympian. “There are so few pastimes or events out there that cater for absolutely everyone,” worries Anne.
“The Superhero Series doesn’t segregate age, gender or ability so everyone participates together,” she continues. “This means a whole family or a diverse team can come together and take part as one unit.”
Disabled people are twice as likely to be physically inactive than non-disabled people. The success of inclusive sporting events like this one is paramount.
“Sport should be available to everyone and this event offers a massive opportunity in sport while actively addressing and removing barriers – it’s so important,” stressesJoy. “Sport can have a huge impact onsomeone’s life.”
The event works to challenge barriers to inclusive sport and create opportunity, Anne says: “Having a disability shouldn’t be a barrier to being able to access the benefits of sport –you actually need them more.
“The Superhero Series showcases brilliantly how, if barriers are removed, sport is not only possible for everyone to join in with, it’s also a huge amount of fun.”
The inclusive nature of the event means that no one is left out or made to feel like they can’t take part, creating an incredible atmosphere.
“My absolute favourite bit is seeing people’s chosen superhero costumes and a field full of smiles,” exclaims Anne.
Every year there are countless stories of people’s attitudes to sport changing, Anne recalls: “I remember hearing a boy say to his family that for the first time ever he feels normal, because here he is in the same group of people rather than the only one who needs special assistance and the odd one out.”
“I can’t wait to be amongst thepositivity and joy,” adds Anne.
This life-changing positivity is what attracted Joy to the event initially andhas her excited to be a celebrity teamcaptain for the first time. “I think just seeing the different kinds of peoplewho will be there and involved and alsoraising awareness of all different types of sport will be amazing,” Joy explains.
Everyday superheroes can take part solo, with a sidekick or as a team. There’s even a chance to make your way around Dorney Lake with a celebrity team captain.
“I’m really excited to meet my new team mates and I’m thinking about what costumes we could wear,” exclaims Anne. “This is the most amount of fun you will ever have at a triathlon.”
Trying something new can be nerve-racking, regardless if you have never taken part in a sporting event before or sport is one of your main hobbies, this event is for you.
Even the celebrities get nervous, Joy says: “I was excited and honoured to be asked to be a team captain but I am also nervous because I’m facing similar challenges to my team mates that I’ve never pushed at before.
“It just makes it more special doing it alongside other people as well.”
Being part of a team can help tackle your nerves and you might even make some new friends along the way.
The only thing left to decide is whether you want to enter solo or join in with friends and family, and what superhero outfit you will wear!
For more information visit the Superhero Series website.