Bailey Matthews, the inspirational 9 year old from Doncaster who has cerebral palsy but didn’t let that stop him completing a triathlon, stole the show at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards last December. Bailey completed his first-ever triathlon last summer at Castle Howard in Yorkshire and is now coming to Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon on Sunday 29th May.Bailey will take part in the children’s Widgeon event involving a 100m lake swim, 4km cycle and 800m run.
Scenes at Castle Howard Triathlon last summer were overwhelmingly emotional, both for Bailey’s parents and for the spectators. As Bailey approached the finish of the run, he bravely dropped his walking support and completed the home straight unaided. Hundreds of supporters cheered him on, as he tripped a couple of times before picking himself up to cross the finish line into the arms of proud parents, Jonathan and Julie. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd. The story became a social media sensation, gaining over 50,000 Facebook ‘Likes’ in two days on the Castle Tri Series page before being picked up by countless newspapers, including the Daily Mirror and Daily Mail, and major media outlets in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Scandinavia, Germany, America and more.
Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon is delighted to welcome Bailey who is truly an inspiration for any child. “Bailey is really looking forward to next season”, said Dad Jonathan Matthews, “We’re lining up to do the full Castle Tri Series, starting with Lough Cutra Castle, which should be a great adventure for us all. Bailey is particularly looking forward to his open-water swim training as this is his favourite discipline”. Lough Cutra Castle offers three triathlons for children from 8 to 16 years old. Competitors in all eight races are encouraged to fundraise for ISPCC Childline, the official charity partner.
Lough Cutra Castle Triathlon is a shining light on the Irish triathlon calendar and attracts entries from all over Ireland, the UK, France and beyond. The combination of top quality elite athletes, a stunning location, challenging course and a family-friendly festival environment is truly a winner. It is a Triathlon Ireland sanctioned event and the longest race,
The Gauntlet, is part of the Vodafone National Series.
8 different triathlons mean there is an option for everyone, whatever their fitness level or age. The half iron or middle-distance Gauntlet is a tough challenge for experienced triathletes. The swim is in the Castle lake, the 90k cycle is around the spectacular lunar landscape of The Burren, and the run stays within the Castle grounds.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Starter Tri is aimed at newcomers who have never done a triathlon before and although all triathlons are challenging, it is well within the compass of anyone who has done some training. The distances are 200m swim, 13km cycle and 2km run. To encourage first timers, a free training programme from The Tri Life can be downloaded from the website (www.loughcutratri.ie).
The Sprint Triathlon (Viscount Gough) involves a 400m swim, 20km cycle and 4km run. The next distance up is The Prendergast which at 800m swim, 40km cycle and 8km run is a perfect step building triathletes towards the Standard or Olympic distance triathlon (The Lough Cutra – 1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run). It’s easy to see why 1500 triathletes choose Lough Cutra as an early season race.
As well as the event Bailey is doing, The Widgeon for 8-10 year olds, there are two other children’s triathlons. The Cormorant for 11-12 year olds has a 200m swim, 4km cycle and 1.8km run, and The Teal for 13-15 year olds has a300m swim, 8km cycle and 2.4km run. All elements of the children’s triathlons stay safely within the Castle estate and are suitable for children who just want to give triathlon a go as well as those who are in a tri club.
All triathlons finish right in front of the fairytale castle. On the lawns nearby are the stands, music, dancing and kiddie entertainment (climbing wall, bouncy castles etc.). Local partners include Gotta Run specialist running store in Oranmore and Coole Football Club. Enter online at www.loughcutratri.ie.