Seaton Delaval teen among disabled stars at triathlon

A teenager from Seaton Delaval was among those who showcased their sporting prowess.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 9:44 am
Updated Friday, 11th October 2019, 10:35 pm
Harry Purdy with mum Debra Purdy, step-mum Louise Purdy and dad George Purdy.

Wet weather failed to dampen spirits at the popular Reason To Children’s Disability Triathlon, sponsored by SOS Group, in Newcastle.

Now in its sixth year, the event attracted a record number of competitors and for the first time included a competition for adults with disabilities, too.

In total, 50 participants successfully completed the triathlon, many taking on the challenge for the first time, and they were cheered on by enthusiastic family, friends and volunteers.

Among those taking part was Harry Purdy, 14, from Seaton Delaval, who has an undiagnosed disability which has traits of cerebral palsy.

He was inspired to do his first triathlon after his step-mam, Louise Purdy, did her first this year.

Louise said: “I did my first triathlon in Ashington recently and Harry said he wanted to try and do one too.

“He’s done six lengths in the pool with lots of kicking, splashing and smiling for the camera.

“We couldn’t do the cycling because of the weather but he did multi-sports instead and he did the running section in his wheelchair.

“He collected a lot of high fives doing that.

“We’re all very proud of him and he really enjoyed the whole day.”

Designed to meet the individual abilities of each participant, the Reason To Disability Triathlon provides support and specially adapted equipment to ensure everyone has the opportunity to swim, run and cycle.

Jo Shallcross, from Ponteland, was inspired to organise a triathlon tailored for North East children and adults with disabilities after seeing a disabled child enjoying an event in Hawaii.

Jo said: “The triathletes were amazing. They pushed themselves do the very limit of what they can do.

“I think the main thing our triathletes take away from this event is confidence.”

The Reason To Disability Triathlon was sponsored by Team Valley-based copy, print and scan management company, SOS Group.

Andrew Skelton, director at SOS Group, said: “It’s fantastic to see it getting bigger and bigger every year and to see the young children and older age groups having the opportunity to take part in sports. And this year, for the first time, adults, too.

“As ever, there’s amazing support from family and volunteers and that creates a superb atmosphere. Were very proud to be associated with this event and look forward to watching it grow even further.”

For the third time, former Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi was proud to help by presenting medals.

Shola said: “It’s so fantastic to see these kids and young people overcoming their difficulties and all that they go through.

“Coming out and exercising, and the social aspect, too, and doing all that a healthy boy or girl could do.

“I’m just so inspired by them for stepping out of their comfort zone and to see the support that they get as well.

“I love the fact this event is growing and that everyone wants to be involved from the youngest kid to the oldest guy. The inclusion of everyone is fantastic.”