Bexhill hit the ground running last Sunday attracting hundreds of visitors keen to support top athletes as they competed in the Lions’ Triathlon and to see two international stars present trophies to the winners.
Now in its fifth year, Race Director David Burstow said the Lions are delighted that the popularity of one of Bexhill’s top sporting events continues to grow.
With Olympic ice-skating champion Jayne Torvill competing in the Taster Duathlon for the second time and, along with award winning comedian and film star Eddie Izzard, presenting prizes, the Triathlon attracted a wide audience. David said: “For the first time we had a crowd control problem on the promenade and extra marshals had to keep a path clear for the promenade runners.
“We had a great day - the weather and sea were kind. The safety guys let us go-ahead with the swim section which is just why so many of our entrants come along to the Bexhill Triathlon.
“How good it was to see so many watching from the prom, and from above the Colonnade - and then from the busy De La Warr balconies above.
“It was also good to see the Duathlon option growing in popularity. Nearly 100 took part in the two Duathlons - ideal for those who don’t want the sea swim.”
Dancing on ice star Jayne Torvill said she had returned to compete in the Taster Duathlon for a second time as she had really enjoyed it last year but preferred not to do the sea swim. She said: “The ones that go in the sea are very brave”, later commenting: “I prefer water when its frozen.”
The Triathlon/Duathlon saw over 250 competitors registering to take part.
David said to date the four prior Triathlon’s raised around £28,000 for charity and many entrants will have raised personal sponsorship for charities of their choice. Charities supported this year are St Michael’s Hospice, Dragonflies, The Sara Lee Trust and Bexhill Lions.
David said Bexhill Lions always aim to share some of the proceeds with local groups who have assisted in putting the event on.
Joining Jayne Torvill and Eddie Izzard for the presentation ceremonies was Bexhill Town Mayor Brian Kentfield, Lions South East District Governor Terry Mason and Club President Richard Winrow.
Bexhill Town Mayor Brian Kentfield said the event puts Bexhill on the map, adding: “I think the Lions have done a fantastic job.”
Jayne Torvill and Eddie Izzard both promised to return and enter the event in future years.
Eddie, recently returned from a tour of the USA, was in the middle of a four night gig at the Eddie Izzard theatre,. He was unable to compete in the Triathlon as he had a broken toe. Prior to presenting winner’s trophies, to the delight of many, he posed for ‘selfies’ on smart-phones - happily showing those incapable of such a feat how to do them.
Of the Triathlon event Eddie said: “It’s a brilliant thing. Bexhill is the home of motor racing and was a Victorian and Edwardian health and fitness town and that’s why I had to get involved. I’d like Bexhill to be a wild and crazy place that people will come to and say ‘we’ve got to go there because they do stuff’.”
David thanked all sponsors, the De La Warr Pavilion, Rother District Council and Active Rother, Sussex Police, the marshals other Lions Clubs, and everyone who made it all possible. Winners/results visit: www.bexhill-triathlon.co.uk