GB triathlon star returns to the Great East Swim to inspire inactive youngsters

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GB Triathlete Mark Threlfall provided inspiration at Alton Water in Suffolk at the Sportivate open water training event on Saturday.

Thelfall Visited the Sportivate Great East Swim project in his capacity as a Sport England Sporting Champion at Alton Water Sports Centre thanks to Suffolk Sport, who provide Sportivate funding in the area on behalf of Sport England.

The Great East Swim Sportivate project, delivered in partnership with Suffolk County Council, Abbeycroft Leisure and South Suffolk Leisure, provides an opportunity for up to 48 inactive 14-25 year olds and up to 48 50+ year olds.

With bases in Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury, the progressive programme of training and support aims to help them get physically active, improve their confidence in the water and create a social community for them while focussing on the goal of taking part in the Great East Swim itself on Saturday, June 18.

Thelfall inspired the participants to challenge themselves, take part in something great and lead active lives.

He is a former member of the British Triathlon World Class Performance Programme and regularly represented GB in duathlon, triathlon, cross triathlon and long distance triathlon.

He raced for Great Britain Students at the 2010 World University Games and for the GE Great Britain team at the 2010 GE Edinburgh ITU Duathlon World Championships.

Participants reacted positively on the day, with one saying: “It has made me feel better, fitter and I feel good as I am sponsoring a local charity.”

Another said: “My stamina and general fitness has increased greatly. I could barely swim lengths, now I can do a mile.”

The Great East Swim Sportivate challenge involves a half-mile open water swim for the 14-15 year olds with those over 16 able to choose from either the 1/2 mile or one mile event in the Alton Water Reservoir in Holbrook, Suffolk.

Thelfall said: “I have been involved in this programme since 2012 and I always look forward to returning to encourage the swimmers and share my experience of proudly representing Great Britain.

“Entering the open water for the first time can make people feel very anxious which is why this training event is so important.

“I really hope my attendance as helped to raise their aspirations of what they can achieve and motivate them to complete the Great East Swim but more importantly continue to be active for years to come.”

For more information about Sportivate visit www.suffolksport.com/Sportivate or call Suffolk Sport on 01394 444605.