With the closing date for entering the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon fast approaching - seven teams made up of Derby College students, staff and representatives from businesses involved in the College’s Employer Academy programme have signed up for the Smith Cooper Team Challenge at the triathlon which will be held in Derby’s Markeaton Park on Sunday July 17.
Entries close this Sunday (July 10) for the individual and Team Challenge competition, sponsored by Midlands based business advisors and accountants Smith Cooper, which is open to teams of three people.
Individuals and teams will get the chance to race twice on July 17 – competing against F1 driver Jenson Button himself as well as hundreds of novice, experienced and elite triathletes.
The preliminary individual event will consist of a 200m swim in Markeaton Lake; 10km cycle from the park and into the city centre before returning to the park to complete a 2.5km run.
In the individual event, the top male and female performers will then go on to the finals – completing a 400m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run, with the runners up entering the wooden spoon race. The Team Challenge participants will race again in the afternoon over the Super Sprint distance and the team with the fastest average time will emerge victorious.
In the Team Challenge each team member tackles one of the triathlon components – starting with a 200m swim in Markeaton Lake, followed by a 10km cycle on a closed-road circular route into the city’s Cathedral Quarter and then back to the park for a 2.5km run. The teams have the opportunity to race twice during the day.
The Derby College Employer Academy teams are all made up of first-time triathletes including International Business Manager Oliver Stonier and Business Development Director April Hayhurst. Both have their own personal reasons for entering the event and raising money for the official charity Cancer Research UK.
Oliver (34) from Wilmorton is now in the monitoring phase of his treatment to beat cancer which started when one of testicles swelled to the size of a grapefruit three years ago.
He underwent surgery to remove the testicle and then six months of intensive chemotherapy. A year later, doctors found a second tumour in his groin which required further surgery and chemotherapy.
Oliver explained: “There is a misconception that testicular cancer can always be cured but that is only achievable if all of the original tumour can be successfully removed.
“I was unlucky enough to have a second tumour and am now monitored every month. I really don’t want to think about what would happen if they found a third tumour as the last treatment was particularly grueling.
“I was in excruciating pain and could hardly move for months both before and during the treatment which left me extremely weak and tired.
“I am now back at work and have been able to return to playing football since January to get my fitness levels back.
“Surviving cancer has changed me as a person. I live life to the full and am positive about the future.
“I am excited about challenging myself to take on the run stage of the triathlon alongside my colleagues Gregg Thompson and Ryan Bloor.
“I hope that my efforts and those of our teams in the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon can make a difference and support the research underway to find a cure for all kinds of cancer.”
April Hayhurst, who heads the Business Development team at the College – working with employers across the region, will be tackling the cycle leg at the triathlon.
She said: “There isn’t anyone who hasn’t been affected by the suffering that cancer brings to a family or individual. I lost my mum to cancer several years ago and my father is now terminally ill with the disease.
“I am therefore passionate about raising money for research into this disease. I am delighted that so many of my colleagues, students at the College and businesses that we work with through the Employer Academy programme have joined together to ensure we have a strong contingent at this fantastic event in the city.
“HUUB have done a fantastic job to bring the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon to the city and are one of the businesses involved in our Employer Academy programme.
“We were therefore keen to support this event which is great for Derby and my only hope is that I don’t hold up my team too badly as I tackle the cycle leg of the team challenge”
The Derby College teams will be battling it out for the Team Challenge title against several other teams including representatives from other businesses who are part of the College’s Employer Academy programme – MBS Construction and advanced composites manufacturing company, epm:technology.
Defending Team Challenge champions MBS will be made up of managing director Adam Stevenson who will be joined again by Phil Woolgar on the swim leg and runner Ian Duffin.
MBS have also entered a second team made up of 11 times national time trial champion Kane Haggett, Kevin Dawson on the bike and schoolboy running champion Alex Yee.
Meanwhile epm:technology’s team is made up of three employees: Swimmer Alex Chapman (20) will start the race in the water, followed by cyclist Harry Harvey (27) and then runner Matt Cotton (26). All three started at the company as trainees and have worked their way up into more senior roles.
Dean Jackson from event organisers, Derby-based HUUB Events, concluded: “The excitement is certainly building for the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon on July 17.
“We are attracting a wide range of entries from complete novices to seasoned and professional triathletes and I think the Smith Cooper Team Challenge will be a particularly close and exciting race to the finish.
“With the confirmation of the Team Challenge and the introduction of the ‘Be More Bailey’ family challenge headed by the inspirational young lad Bailey Matthews – this is now truly an event for everyone to enjoy regardless of their age or experience in the growing sport of triathlon.”
During the lunchtime break – the free to enter ‘Be More Bailey’ family challenge for children aged seven and above, accompanied by an adult, will start with a 50m swim in the lake then head out onto the closed roads for a 2.5km cycle before a 750m run – crossing the same finishing line as the JBTT triathletes.
For more information and to register for the event, please visit www.jensonbuttontri.com and, for latest news and training tips, please follow on Twitter @JBTrustTri. The closing date for entries is Sunday July 10.