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Local triathlete to attempt ‘warrior’ challenge in aid of Little Smiles

Adjudicator and Winning Arts 200519170519 { seq} ( Photo John Bugeja) on the Spring Visual Arts Competition 2019

James Howard will attempt the Blenheim Weekend Warrior this weekend in a bid to raise money once again for Little Smiles.

The Blenheim Weekend Warrior is an extended version of the Blenheim triathlon which will take place this weekend.

“Most people just swim, bike and run,” he said.

“Weekend warrior is when you start on a Saturday morning and every time you finish one triathlon you go in a start another one.”

“You try and do as many as you can over the weekend until the end of the Sunday.”

Last year, when he took part in the event he completed seven triathlons. The record for the weekend is eight.

The athletes do get some sleep on the Saturday night but are back in the water again for 7am on Sunday.

Each triathlon consists of a 1km swim, 20km cycle and a 7km run.

“Triathlons are always something I have been very keen on,” said Mr Howard.

“I was actually at the very first Blenheim triathlon and that was my first triathlon 15 years ago.”

“I have been to every single Blenheim that has been run. I have to keep that going for sure as I am the only one who has been to every single one.”

“The weekend warrior is so much fun that whenever you do just one triathlon it is not quite enough. When they started a few years ago I just snapped at the chance and I have been doing it ever since.”

However, earlier this year he had decided to give himself a break because the training leading up to the event is very time consuming and challenging as well as hard and while he does have support from his wife [also a triathlete] and children, he felt it was a good time to take a rest.

This was before he received a call directly from the organisers when they realised his name was not one of the coveted 30 spaces allocated each year. They asked if he wanted to do it and unable to resist the temptation Mr Howard said yes and they opened up a slot just for him.

At present, he is training three times a day to get himself “warrior fit”.

Both this year and last year Mr Howard is doing it to raise money for Little Smiles. Last year he raised £2,850.

His son is behind his desire to raise money and awareness for Little Smiles.

“My middle son is very heavily disabled, we moved to Gibraltar one and a half years ago and since then the whole of Gibraltar has done nothing but look after us in the most spectacular way,” he said.

“Then Little Smiles in particular because he goes to St Martin’s school and they do an awful lot for the school.”

“I can’t fault how well he has been looked after since then so it’s just my little piece to be able to give back to the community.”

His son does understand that Mr Howard goes away to take part in these events and to raise money. He has joined him a couple of times to give moral support.

“One idea that I have is at some point in the future is to actually take him around Blenheim,” he said.

“Put him in a dingy and swim with him, cycle and run with him. We haven’t managed to achieve that yet but at some point I want to.”

People can donate online via his just giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/warrior

Pic by Johnny Bugeja