Team Gladiator Rides Again

Royal College Manchester students get on their bikes - and in their swimming costumes - and do a little bit of running for good measure as well this September, at Seashell Trust's first annual triathlon open to all young adults with a learning disability and/or sensory impairment on the 13th September.

Sport and athletics have long since been a core part of our course offer. As well as providing opportunities to develop physical skills and mobility, many of our students enjoy the social sides of competition - meeting new people, shaking hands and congratulating one another on a race well run as well as competing against one another - and gain a better understanding of their bodies and how best to keep themselves fit and healthy from engaging in sports. And by using sports facilities out and about by travelling to the local swimming pool, for example, young people learn how to better tolerate unfamiliar environments, practice their numeracy by recognising locker numbers or when paying, develop their travel skills and participate in activities in the local community. It's great practice for many of the skills which allow people to become more independent, it promotes health and wellbeing, and it feels great when students train for an event and see the progress they make.

For several years, our athletes - Team Gladiator - have enjoyed racing, cycling and swimming against each other, students from other colleges and members of the community. The Sefton Triathlon - an inclusive triathlon open to athletes with disabilities, including learning disabilities, joining in the fun - was a firm favourite, but has now been closed. Maureen, a teacher in the college, isn't about to let a little detail like that stop Team Gladiator and the rest of Seashell's students from having a great day, though, and she's working with athletics events organisers Crazy Legs Events to make TriSeashell a reality!

Maureen has worked to organise athletics events - including a small triathlon specifically for students following our Sensory course and also have physical disabilities, which was open to students from nearby special schools and colleges - before, but hopes to make TriSeashell a huge success. The triathlon is open to anyone with learning disabilities, no matter their experience or needs, and our specialist equipment including MOTOmed arm and leg bikes, 3-wheelers, swimming pool and fully accessible changing facilities will be made available to anyone who wants to have a go, as well as the option to compete as part of a relay team or complete a duathlon.

Triathlons can be tiring. They're hard work, even with events like TriSeashell which are designed to be equally fun for people with no experience and those, like Team Gladiator, who have been training for a few years. It's also an amazing achievement. For a couple of people, like Darren, it's actually served as an introduction to a new favourite hobby! But even those of us who might have a go and decide that we don't really enjoy it would have to admit that knowing you tried something new and took on a huge challenge and succeeded is definitely something to be proud of.

Now, say it with me, folks - GO TEAM GLADIATOR!

If you or someone you support would like to TriSeashell, you can find more information and our entry form here.