Family themed events for Olympic countdown

Youngsters taking part in the London 2012 Open Weekend events in Newbiggin.
Youngsters taking part in the London 2012 Open Weekend events in Newbiggin.

FAMILIES in south east Northumberland were set the challenge of completing a short distance run along Newbiggin Promenade as part of the London 2012 Open Weekend.

The event, supported by BP, is part of a series of sporting and cultural events taking place across the UK to celebrate the ‘One Year to Go’ countdown to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Organised by Blyth Valley Arts & Leisure’s Make-a-Move team, 50 young people completed a Fun Run Challenge along Newbiggin Promenade.

Each participant was presented with a medal and t-shirt by Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery.

The Couple Challenge Swim, organised by Tri Northumberland, was also a great success with 50 competitors completing the third swim event organised this year, swimming either 1500m or 3000m.

The following day more than 100 competitors arrived in town from all corners of the country to take part in three triathlons in one with the main event being the ‘Couple Challenge’ – a half-iron distance race consisting of a 1.9km swim, 80km bike and an 18km multi lap run held alongside a standard and sprint distance race around the town of Newbiggin.

With all the races beginning together in a mass swim start on the beach at Newbiggin, competitors entered the water on the day of a big swell.

One lap for the short races and two for the long distance race, competitors braved a harsh north westerly wind on the multi lap bike course up to Amble and back.

The Bay Blast Sprint race was first finished with Steven Wrigglesworth winning the men’s race in a time of 1:18:15 and Lisa Tweddle the women’s race in 1:30:22.

The Breakwater Standard race was won by local Blyth and ex-Whitley Bay footballer and centre half Stephen Locker in 2:14:44 and Seonaid Hudson, from Edinburgh, first woman in 2:34:33.

And the Couple Challenge was won in a fantastic time of 3:52:28 by John Dennis from Team Milton Keynes. Deborah Stockley, from Leeds and Bradford Tri, was first female across the line in a time of 4:37:42.

Lee Paris, sport inclusion officer for BVAL, said: “It is important that Northumberland feels part of the Olympics.

“We hope that the London 2012 Open Weekend in Newbiggin has contributed towards this aim.

“The Triathlon and Swim events held locally have inspired local youngsters and the success of the Fun Run confirms this.”

Rebecca McCready, chairwoman of Newbiggin Town Council, said: “We are delighted to have supported this event.

“The Triathlon and Olympic events are for everyone, from children to grandparents, whether you want to have a go or cheer from the sidelines.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase the best that Newbiggin by the Sea has to offer, and I would encourage everyone to come along and get involved at future events.”

For more information about the 2011 Northumberland Triathlon Series visit