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5in5 charity event kicks off

Photo by Stephen Ignacio

5in5, a five day challenge, which will see a team complete five half ironmans in five days, kicked off on Tuesday.

The 5in5 event is fundraising for the Cancer Relief Centre and the Gibraltar Cardiac Association, and continues this week ending on Saturday.

Three members of the 5in5 team, Charles Harrison, Adrian Lopez and Kerion Alvarez, said they were overwhelmed by the support they have received on the road and in the sea.

The event began on Tuesday at 6am with a 90km cycle from the GSLA (GASA) car park, followed by the 21km run at 10.30am and the 1.9km swim at 1.30pm.

The Chronicle spoke to Mr Harrison moments after he completed the first day of the challenge.

He added it was a positive start to the challenge, in a sentiment that was echoed by Mr Lopez and Mr Alvarez.

For Mr Harrison the toughest part of the challenge so far was changing his pace as he ran with two friends.

“I promised two of my friends, David and Michael to get them through the 21k. But I was out of my rhythm. I'm not the fastest runner but there's a pace that I need to go and obviously I was going slower than that. So it's tough to be out there longer than what you normally would be. But like I said, I promised them both and they got around, so for me it's the one that I was aiming for today,” he said.

The cycling leg of the challenge saw nearly 60 cyclists joining the three men, including the Minister for Transport Paul Balban and two students Charles and Lee who did about 30km with the team before school.

“It's just incredible when you've got like young kids coming on the bicycle and supporting us,” Mr Harrison said.

“It's everything that I had in my mind that I thought would happen and it is sort of coming together.”

The peloton was marshalled by work colleagues of Mr Harrison and Mr Alvarez from HM Customs.

The volume of traffic on Devil’s Tower Road resulted in a change of route after the third lap.

The cycling leg of the challenge ended at the GSLA carpark, with around 10 of the 60 cyclists completing the cycle, with many having to leave due to other commitments including work.

Mr Harrison, Mr Lopez and Mr Alvarez and some of the cyclists including triathlete Christian Celecia then moved onto the run.

“We were overwhelmed with the amount of runners that came,” said Mr Harrison.

“A lot of known faces, which is brilliant to see. Charlotte [Ward] flew in yesterday specifically to join us. Lesley Jackson it was brilliant to see her out there after she did some of the cycle and Emma [Foy] is joining us throughout which is brilliant because you don't need to worry if people are going to come and support us.”

“You think is there going to be anyone that is going to run with me and having these people on board just makes it easier and it takes a bit of the pressure off.”

The run finished in Casemates where they were greeted with a round of applause.

Walking back to the GSLA the team got ready for the swim in the rain.

On this leg they were joined by some familiar faces in the swimming fraternity on the Rock including Nicky Bennett, who also cycled some of laps earlier; Robert Matto, Jason Mesilio, Chris Walker and Owen Smith.
In the water swimmers faced additional obstacles in the form of jellyfish and an unexpected sewage overflow, but Mr Harrison found this the easiest part of the challenge.

“We were on the bike was four hours, run for two hours 15 and I've done the swim in 34 minutes,” he said.

Day one of the event was ‘In Memory Day’ where participants remember their loved ones.

Mr Harrison lost both of his parents to cancer and Mr Lopez lost a friend to cancer, and they were remembered throughout the challenge.

“I was on the bike and just thinking of my parents,” Mr Harrison said.

“Adrian lost one of his close friends and I just gave him a hug in the end and he gave just one of those squeezes that you know nothing needs to be said.”

“But we both knew exactly what, what that hug meant.”

Looking ahead, the team hope for a strong turnout on Wednesday during Essential Services Day.

For more information visit the Facebook page:

To donate and support the 5in5 team fundraise for the Cancer Relief Centre and the Gibraltar Cardiac Association visit:

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