Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Thomas Ivor's Triathlon Triumph - #7kFor700k


On Friday, I did a 3x7km triathlon to raise money for the National Autistic Society's '7k for 700k' appeal, to highlight the 700,000 people in the UK who have Autism, like me.

I had a few difficulties to overcome. The day before the event, we had to survey a new route because someone decided that I wouldn't be able to use the gym for the cycle and run as we'd hoped. They also said they thought the challenge was too much at my age, and that they wouldn't have let their own children do it. This made me a bit cross, but actually it spurred me on and I was even more determined to prove that I could do it! We decided that I would do the cycle and run on a traffic free path by the A45. My NAS collecting tin had also got delayed in the post, but luckily that was waiting on our doorstep when we got home. Later, I got my first pair of running shoes, because Daddy said my trainers were looking a bit tired. I collected up all the things I was going to need, and put my batteries on charge.


Next morning, I woke up and had tons of butterflies in my stomach, so I filled it with porridge. After breakfast I started to get my stuff together; I needed so much kit! I packed one bag for each discipline to help with the transitions.

As soon as I said that I was starting at 10 o’clock that day, people started retweeting me and donating online, which motivated me even more.


Before you know it I was ready in the water to start my first ever triathlon.

Daddy set the watch going it went “Three, Two”, I felt like Kevin McAllister: "This is it - don’t get scared now" "one, GO!".

The first stint was 1¼ hours, which was quite easy, so then I went for a brief break while AQUA ZUMBA was happening, because ¾ of an hour of loud cheesy pop music often offends, and they make the water very choppy. I had done 100 lengths, or so I thought. We swapped my Swimtag for another one so I didn't get a flat battery and lose my data.

I had a break in the changing room before going back in the water. The second 'third' was incredibly hard, but my swimming teacher Glenn came to swim with me. Also, to spur me on, Daddy kept me posted on the kind people who were donating to the NAS on my fundraising page. One lady had been swimming in the next lane to me! People were also donating using the collecting tin, which I had put on reception. I had a sign next to me in the pool telling people what I was doing, and why.

After another 90 lengths, I got out for some lunch. I had a tuna sandwich, some blue 'super juice' and more bananas. We swapped my Swimtag again but it was taking ages to appear on the app, which meant that I didn't know for certain how many lengths I had left to do.



The last leg was very dull and boring just looking at the same things over and over again (mostly tiles) and the sun was in my eyes, going one way up the pool. I was also getting tired. It got worse when Daddy came and told me that the Swimtag had uploaded 7 lengths less than I thought I'd done, so I was going to have to do some extra to make sure I did 7km. Daddy then made me do 20 more lengths, just to make sure that I had definitely done it!

It was a good job he did because when we got the final download I'd only gone four lengths over!


I touched the wall for the last time and I was out. My legs were like trifle. Time for the cycle!

I was soon changed and Daddy put some air in my tyres. I tried start Strava but I’d already put my gloves on and could not work the screen! Unfortunately, there was a problem with the bluetooth and my sensors wouldn't work, which always seems to happen on important days!

The path was not the best surfaced of all the paths I’ve ever been on but it was very flat. I went past a lot of geese, swans, blackbirds and squirrels. On the way back though I went the wrong way and had to cross all the roads on the retail park again, which took a long time.

Soon in the distance I saw a man who looked like a man from ‘Ikea’ up by McDonalds, it was Daddy in his blue coat and yellow trousers, who had come to watch me across the roundabout safely. “You’ve gone the wrong way son, that's further!” He laughed.  I had a quick chat with him and got on my way again.

I got to the end of the path and waited for the team to arrive. My sister Rhoda was asleep in the back of the car by now! Daddy gave me a banana in exchange for my bike.

The cycle was my recovery for the triathlon. Now it was time for the pain!

Phone - check
Shoes - check
Gloves - check
Let's go!

The first few strides were awful but I found my rhythm. I felt soon very grumpy and tired, though.
It was dark and all the nice things that I saw on the bike were nowhere to be seen. Eventually, at the end of the path, I saw Daddy’s bright yellow trousers in the distance; I made my way towards him feeling tired.

I told him about what had happened on the run so far, ran towards him again for a bit of filming, then said farewell once more, turned round and went back on my way.

Some autistic people need music to help them concentrate on the task at hand and on the run back to the gym, I tried to listen to some music on the phone, but to my disgust the only piece of music I had was the Second movement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto number 2, which I think is too sad to run to; it sounds like funeral music!

I needed some encouragement but the path was empty; all you could hear was the ‘zoom zoom’ of the cars, so I tried to cheer myself on but I seemed to go slower than I was before. Eventually I came down the hill for the very last time of the triathlon, going the right way this time!



Daddy and Rhoda were waiting for me with my NAS banner for the finish; soon I was crashing through the banner and reached the end of my triathlon. It had taken me seven hours and twenty three minutes including breaks, made up of:
  • Swimming  -7.1km, 3 hours, 8 minutes, 30 seconds
  • Bike - 9.57km, 32 minutes, 33 seconds
  • Run - 8.45km, 1 hour, 3 minutes, 53 seconds
My total time spent moving was 4 hours, 44 minutes and 56 seconds.

Afterwards I felt very tired, happy and thankful that I could now rest but not for long as I have more adventures planned! I raised more than double my original target of £210 on my JustGiving page, which was incredible.

The next day I felt quite achey and tired. Oh, and hungry! I was back in the pool for my swimming lesson tonight, though.

I would like to say thank you to my family @FamilyByCycle, and also to all my supporters who have put their time and money into supporting me and other people with autism. I even want to thank the people who said I couldn’t do it, because then I was determined to show them that it is possible, for a 9 year old to take on something big and succeed!




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