Pete takes on Superheroes Triathlon

Pete Donnelly


Pete Donnelly, our Can Do Programme Manager, took part in the Superheroes Triathlon last year. Here he takes a look back at his experience.

There were plenty of people willing to volunteer for some last-minute triathlon action. I even ended up jumping in the water four times on the day!

When I signed up to the largest 750 metre distance at the Superhero Triathlon it had been a couple of years since I’d done any open water swimming. So, on the day I was feeling a bit nervous at the realisation of what I’d done!

I'd had the best intentions of getting a good amount of training in within the months’ notice I had before the event. In reality I'd managed one half hour Sunday swim beforehand. This didn’t boost my confidence massively!

It was an early start on the day, especially for a Saturday morning, with the swim starting at half nine. I arrived at Dorney Lake to see a well set up venue. Next to the lake there were rows of tents and marquees for various charities and organisations, all offering different services. 

In no time at all the time had come to get into the water. At nineteen degrees, it actually wasn’t that uncomfortable. I've been in much colder water with all the water-skiing that I do!


On your marks

The start of the race was pretty tough. Everyone seemed to be swimming right on top of each other. When I put my face under water, all I could really see was flailing legs! As the race got under way, everyone found their own pace, so I got a bit more space around me. 

Before I knew it, I was circling the buoy at the end of the course and back on the home straight. Getting out of the water was easy because of all the helpers they had on the ramp who helped me back into my wheelchair. I passed the electronic tag, the equivalent of our baton, on to Lucy, who went on to complete the rest of the Triathlon.

As I got out of the water and back to the marquee, I saw the event start to fill up. It was great to see a mix of familiar faces and new ones arriving. Some of them had travelled quite a distance. We had people coming from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and across England!


Team spirit

There was such a buzz around the Leonard Cheshire tent. It was very infectious and built on everyone’s enthusiasm for the upcoming events. This was also helped by the amazing superhero fancy dress from Newlands House!

It was fantastic to see everyone working together on the day to complete their leg of the triathlon for the team. There were a couple of people who couldn’t make it down on the day and left a few gaps in teams.

Luckily, with their team spirit, there were plenty of people willing to volunteer for some last-minute triathlon action. I even ended up jumping in the water four times on the day!


Inspirational attitudes

It was a brilliant day, and everyone had so much fun. There were a lot of inspirational attitudes demonstrated from Can Doers, people who use our services, volunteers and staff.

The Superheroes event brings together the idea of being inclusive, no matter what a person’s ability is. I would definitely encourage anyone to take part, it’s so much fun I’ve signed up again this year!

Grab your place

You can join Pete in this year's Superhero Series Tri and be part of Team Leonard Cheshire.

Sign up today for Superheroes Triathlon