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Why I'm taking on the Bloodwise Blenheim Triathlon

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
Posted by
09 Apr 2018

Bloodwise Communications Officer Laurence Pigott tells us how volunteering at Blenheim in 2017 inspired him to don a tri suit

A male runner competes in a charity event. He's fundraising for Bloodwise, the blood cancer research charity

Have you ever done a triathlon before?

I’m a total novice! The closest I’ve come is cycling 50 miles at London Bikeathon in 2016, and running the Bristol 10K in 2017. Each of those was a decent challenge, but a triathlon is a completely different beast. Individually the distances don’t sound too long, but I’m sure doing them one after the other won't be easy.

What inspired you to sign up to the Bloodwise Blenheim Palace Triathlon?

I’ve worked at a few Bloodwise events like Bikeathon and London to Paris before, and in 2017 I helped out at Blenheim for the first time. I honestly didn’t really know what to expect, but turning up with the rest of the Bloodwise crew at 6am on Saturday and seeing the big #LIVETOTRI sign, I knew it was going to be special.

I also got the chance to chat to some of our amazing supporters, many of whom have had personal experiences with blood cancer. They're truly inspirational and, after seeing them giving it their all, I just thought – I have to give this a go!

What did you most enjoy about Blenheim last year?

The palace grounds are absolutely beautiful – it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site after all – although I’m not sure if you get the chance to admire the view during the race…

When the event was in full swing there was a real buzz about the place, and I spent a lot of my time cheering on our triathletes at the cheer point. It was great fun to give everyone a little boost as they ran and cycled past – so make sure you give the crew a wave when you run by!

Did anyone stand out for you?

It has to be the Weekend Warriors. If you’ve not heard of them, they really do live up to their name – running as many triathlons as physically possible across the two days and raising thousands upon thousands towards blood cancer research. It’s an impressive achievement by any means, but to keep smiling throughout takes a special kind of determination! You can tell the Weekend Warriors by the colour of their race number – and the Bloodwise staff gazing at them admiringly (I admit it). That lot take it to another level in terms of training and fundraising, something I could only dream of.

Have you got all the gear?

I’ll be honest, not yet. I’ve got a hybrid bike which might not look the most professional, but it’ll do a job. As for a wetsuit, there’s apparently one lurking somewhere in the Bloodwise basement (it’s a Blenheim veteran to boot) but I’m not sure what sort of condition it’s in. I’ll probably end up hiring one. Or maybe just buy one and become a proper proper triathlete – the Weekend Warriors must have started somewhere...

A large group of triathletes pictured on the grounds of Blenheim Palace

How’s your fundraising going – any tips?

I've set my JustGiving page up and am feeling confident that I can smash my target and earn the slick Bloodwise tri-suit and belt.

As for tips, I think it’s best to just write from the heart when you share your fundraising page. Whether you’ve got a personal connection to blood cancer or just want to support a good cause, let people know what has inspired you to take part.

Now Summer is finally on its way, I’ll also be putting my BBQ skills to the test and asking friends and family to make a small donation to pop round.

Do you have a training plan?

My training got off to a slower start than I would have liked... I'm blaming the Beast from the East. I do a few spin classes each week already though, so I’m not starting completely from scratch. I’m following the RG Active 12 week training plan so the main thing is making the time for all three disciplines and keeping things interesting by changing my routes.

I’ll probably go for a long cycle this week, get a picture of myself looking slightly sweaty (but heroic) in my Bloodwise top and share a link to my JustGiving page.

What are you feeling most nervous about?

The thing that’s giving me the most nerves is definitely the start. I watched a few waves set off last year, waiting in their wetsuits for the call to walk up the pier to the lake. Quite a few (I assume) first timers looked a little nervous, and that’s going to definitely be me! Once everyone jumps in and starts splashing about I imagine the nerves go pretty quickly – and I’m sure I’ll feel better once I’ve done some training in open water.

On a more general note, a few other colleagues will be taking part and I really want to beat their time and take the glory!

What are you feeling most excited about?

Without a doubt, the pint of Erdinger at the end. It may be non-alcoholic but I’m sure it’s going to be delightful anyway!

To anyone reading this, good luck with your training and your fundraising. Bloodwise doesn’t receive any government funding, so it’s completely thanks to your amazing efforts that we’re able to fund vital blood cancer research taking place across the UK.

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