Having new experiences every day is something we should enjoy no matter how old we are, and that is something that many of those representing Pelham House in the London Triathlon over the weekend certainly achieved.
The annual event is the largest of its kind in the world, with 7,500 competitors taking part in swimming, cycling and running events – and the care home was the best represented in the ‘Corporate Sprint’ mixed relay with six bird-inspired teams. Starting at London’s stunning Excel complex in a rejuvenated Docklands, the Ospreys, Peregrines, Kingfishers, Flamingos, Sparrows and Kestrels flew themselves into action in the Victoria Docks, on a wing and many a prayer.
There were opportunities in more than 60 events catering for complete beginners to Olympic medal winners from across the globe.
Our event consisted of a 750m swim, 20km bike-ride and a 5km run – an ambitious proposition by Roger Waluube, owner and manager of both Pelham House and Aspire Home Carers, when he suggested it to potential players in the darker days of winter. Some of us novices had done some work in preparation, but we should give special credit to Om and Ashika from the Pelham staff, who had just a day’s notice each to prepare for the event (so basically, no preparation) – and especially to Ashika who began her 8 o’clock shift at the Care Home the same evening after running her 5,000m!
The day was not without its stresses – getting there on time; parking vehicles; checking in; finding unknown team-mates; finding Roger…but boy was it worth it! The real point of it was not to compete to a high level – winning would definitely have been a bonus – it was about being there, being part of a team and pushing our own boundaries. Support came not just from within our own teams, but also from the small army of friends and families who had come to cheer us on in the intermittent rain under cloudy skies.
We all finished safely in one collective piece and without mishap to a great sense of achievement.
More than 40 Pelham competitors and supporters gathered after their hard work to take deep breaths and celebrate the day’s events at a nearby hotel. Roger thanked everyone for playing their part in getting the six teams across the line, and gave special praise to Catherine and Josh at the Alzheimer’s Society who had helped with the registration process, and Josh himself was on hand to thank the Pelham House teams for supporting them at this event.
“But this wasn’t just about competing,” he said. “This was also about enjoying life and making the most of it, which we aim to achieve at Pelham House. So feel free to come and do it again next year!”
But there was also a set of prizes awarded for special performances during the day. Bottles of wine and much admiration went to:
Peregrines – Fastest Team (Yay! Thanks to John Iloenyosi for making time up on the bike-ride and run after my swim!)
Katherine Hall – ‘Swim Like a Fish’ Award (13.46 mins for her 750m)
Vicky Lawson – ‘Ride Like the Wind’ Award (38.45 mins for her 20km)
Andrew Lawrie – ‘Run Like a Hare’ Award (23.12 mins for his 5km)
Carmella Martin – Gutsiest Performance (a kick in the chest and half-drowning during her swim)
Ospreys – Wooden Spoon for slowest time (“It was a timing chip failure!” protested Team Captain, David Painter)
And there were prizes too for the exuberant kids for being…well, kids – may they enjoy new experiences every day for the rest of their lives…
Pelham House Triathlon Teams
Andrew South (Swim)
John Iloenyosi (Cycle) – CAPTAIN
John Iloenyosi (Run)
Roger Waluube (Swim) – CAPTAIN
Roger Waluube (Cycle)
Nedu Nzelu (Run)
Andrew Lawrie (Swim) – CAPTAIN
Kunle Ajai (Cycle)
Andrew Lawrie (Run)
Carmella Martin (Swim) – CAPTAIN
Achi Ejikeme (Cycle)
Kene Ejikeme (Run)
Katherine Hall – (Swim) – CAPTAIN
Katherine Hall – (Cycle)
Chai Hollingshead (Run)
David Painter (Swim) – CAPTAIN
Vicky Lawson (Cycle)
Ashika Rai (Run)