Meet our Everyday Superheroes & Sidekicks

This series is for all the unsung Superheroes who boldly face what life throws at them and are looking to take on the ultimate challenge with their own unique superpowers and a super-charged dollop of positive energy! And let’s not forget their trusty Sidekicks who are by their side through thick and thin. A huge thank you to our below participants, who are all taking part in our debut event Superhero Tri, for sharing their story to show that Superhero Series is for everybody.

Superhero Craig

Earth years: “38”
Hometown: “Birkenhead, Cheshire”
Your chosen mission: “The Sprint Superhero Tri team event – I’ll be doing the bike part.”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I only have one leg as well as scoliosis and hip dysplasia. As a result I suffer chronic pain on a daily basis.”
Ever done anything like this before? “No, but there’s a first time for everything.”
Sporting super-stripes: “Former England Amputee Football International and former captain of Everton mixed disability team. Current North West Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) dressage champion in walk only class.”

 

Why Superhero Tri: “Why not? I love to challenge myself and want to be noticed as a person, not by my disability.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “Riding a handbike as I’ve not done so since I was a teenager.”
Your Kryptonite: “Pain, but I won't let it stop me.”
Gadget of choice: “A handbike.”

Craig’s Superpower: “Positivity and the drive to do it.”

Superhero Mark

Earth years: “54”
Hometown: “London”
Your disability: “I’m an amputee and am hearing impaired.”
Sporting super-stripes: “Last year I became the first disabled man to compete in the Great Wall of China Marathon. I’m currently training to go to the Archery GB Academy in September.”
Why Superhero Tri: “I love all aspects of triathlon because it's a multisport endurance tester and I love endurance tests. It pushes you to the limits.”
What you're most looking forward to: "Being a #TeamDorset Superhero and meeting all the amazing competition. i really enjoy encouraging people to take part in sport and can't wait for an awesome day out.”

Your Kryptonite: “Heat is not good for me, so I may need to use my Superhero shield to protect me. But if it’s cool the other guys better watch out!”
Gadgets of choice: “My dynamic leg and super-fast handcycle.”

Mark’s superpower: “I can make anyone smile and enjoy themselves. I also have super determination and a super have-a-go attitude.”

Superhero Megan

Earth years: “13”
Hometown: “Leyland, Lancashire”
Your chosen mission: “The Sprint Superhero Tri”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I have bilateral clubfeet, chronic regional pain syndrome and full-body spasms and seizures. I can’t feel or use my body from my waist down. The swim is going to be my biggest challenge as I have never swam in a lake before and it will be all upper-body strength – and I need to stop talking long enough so I don’t drown!”
Ever done anything like it before? “No, I’ve only taken part in one wheelchair race before, so the rest is a huge challenge.”

Sporting super-stripes: “Even with my disability, I love sport and have always done sporting activities. At the moment my passion is wheelchair tennis, in which I’ve achieved silver in singles and gold in doubles. I also do wheelchair racing and won the chariot event at Mad Dog. What I love is the friends you make with people who have the same love and passion as you.”
Why Superhero Tri: “Why not? I love a challenge and where better than in a place where I can maybe be inspired and inspire others.”
What are you most looking forward to: “Giggles, lots of giggles, and meeting new friends and having lots of fun.”
Your Kryptonite: “Pain is going to be my biggest battle, but I will dig deep.”
Gadgets of choice: “My tandem bike and lots of prayers!!!!!”

Megan’s superpower: “Being so positive and determined, and always making people smile.” 

Sidekick Paul & Superhero Sebastian

Earth Years: “40 & 11”
Hometown: “Salford, Greater Manchester”
What challenge are you doing? “The Full Sidekick Tri”
Tell us about your Superhero you’ll be superpowering around the course: “Sebastian is 11 and has a genetic condition called Angelman Syndrome, which means he cannot walk, talk, or feed himself, and has a high dependency on us (his parents) to care for him. Bizarrely his condition also means he has compulsive laughter (termed ‘inappropriate laughter’ by professionals) and the ability to heal the souls of those nearby with love and positive energy. Don’t believe me? Give it a try.”

Will you be using any gismos or gadgets? “I will probably ask Sebastian’s little brother Harrison to sit with him for the swim and keep him calm (and in the boat) whilst I tow them both. I know he’s not a gadget or gizmo, but for a brief time he’ll be a hero to his big brother. A worthy shout out, no? The charity Wheels for All has kindly given us use of a tricycle for the bike section, which is like a really cool, comfy wheelchair with pedals.”
Why are you taking part? “Ultimately it allows me to connect with Sebastian soul to soul and share a glorious moment. We’ll cross the finish line broken, beaten and battered, but connected as a family and full of love, embracing each other at our combined success, each person playing their own important part.”
Have you ever done anything like this before? “In 2013 we cycled from Manchester to Blackpool on one of those adapted bikes and when I crossed the finish line I cried like a tired-emotional-broken-man-baby. Sebastian laughed the whole way.”
What will be your Kryptonite? “The logistics of Sebastian in boat, plus the cold and me towing him makes up about 90% of my concern. You can watch us trying to solve these issues on our Vlog: YouTube/DisabilityReel.”
What tips would you recommend to any other potential Super Sidekicks out there? “One thing to come out of this are the amazing connections and knowledge from people when I tell them what we are doing. So reach out to everyone for any help you need, because it turns out somebody you know, knows a person who…Etc…”

Sebastian’s superpower: “Belly Laughter and Giggles.”

Superhero Isaac

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Earth Years: “5”
Hometown: “Bristol”
Your chosen mission: “Sprint Superhero Tri Solo”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I was born with a through-knee amputation of my right leg. I do, however, have a really cool blade that I love and which enables me to run really fast. I don’t have a bendy knee, so it will be very tiring to run and cycle, but luckily I have lots of energy to overcome this.”
Ever done anything like this before? “This is my first triathlon, although I did do a duathlon last summer. The marshalls thought I was going to ride my trike into the lake, but I was in control – honest :-). It was great fun, so I am looking forward to racing again.”

Sporting super-stripes? “I love lots of different sports, including running, football, scooting, biking, body-boarding and swimming.”
Why Superhero Tri? “Superhero Tri will be an inspirational event and I will get to do three sports that I like.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “The whole event atmosphere and the enjoyment I get from new challenges and meeting other participants.”
Your Kryptonite: “I'm still in the process of learning to swim, so I think the swim could be very tough, but I am relying on my dad to help me out here.  If the water is very cold, I hope that he will be in the water and I can catch a ride.”
Your gadget/s of choice? “My cheetah blade, together with my flashing dinosaur trainers for the run and my nifty scooter for the cycle.”

Isaac's superpower: “My endless energy. My mum will often ask, ‘Do you ever sit still?’ but I can't stop myself!  So I’m hoping my long-lasting ‘battery power’ will kick in on event day.” 


Superhero Kris

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Earth Years: “46 (minus about 20 in spirit)”
Hometown: “Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire”
Your chosen mission: “To compete in the Sprint Sidekick Tri towing my able-bodied partner, Dean; to support one of my other team members John as his wheelchair buddy in his Sprint Tri 1k push; to complete the 2.5k push in the Half Tri; and make sure my six teams have a great day to remember.”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I have a degenerative joint condition, which causes severe pain and limits my ability to walk, so I’m a wheelchair user. I’ve competed in several wheelchair events so I’m used to pushing myself hard. But I don’t swim much and only use my arms, so I’m expecting the Sidekick swim to be a bit of a challenge.”

Ever done anything like this before? “I did a 10k handcycle in a triathlon team in 2015, I have two London Marathons under my belt and a few other distance events.”
Sporting super-stripes: “After embracing a wheelchair six years ago I became a fitness instructor and provide exercise classes to people with and without disabilities; 14 of these clients will be taking part with me as “Team Wheely” in their first tri event. I've also gone on to present workshops, talks and demonstrations showing people a different and positive approach to disability and I’ve also started dipping my wheels into acting and dance.”
Why Superhero Tri? “It’s such a great event because it brings everyone together regardless of ability, embraces individuality and takes away barriers to ensure everyone can compete and share in a great experience of achievement, participation and fun.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “Being part of something unique and seeing everyone sharing in a common goal: to be the best they can be and celebrate their abilities.”
Your Kryptonite: “Trying to get my wetsuit off. Legs are impossible as I can’t push it off and I can’t reach down enough with my arms to pull it.”
Your gadget/s of choice? “My wheelchair for the push/run, a handcycle for the bike section and a surf board for towing my Sidekick in the Sprint Sidekick Tri.”
Your Superpower: “Strong arms, stubbornness and determination – and a body built on chocolate!”


Sidekicks Jenni & Steve, & Superhero Eve

Ages: “Sidekicks both 42, Superhero 4”
Hometown: “Dorking, Surrey”
What challenge are you doing? “The Sprint Superhero Tri relay”
Tell us about your Superhero you’ll be superpowering around the course: ”Our Superhero is the Tiny Tornado, our daughter Eve. She has a very rare chromosome condition. She is also the happiest, most determined and cheekiest person we know. She loves swimming, music, crawling at high speed (hence her Superhero name), being outdoors and teaching her super-cousin, Hurricane Jake, all her mischief-making secrets.”
Will you be using any gismos or gadgets? “Eve’s off-road pushchair and walker.”

Why are you taking part? “Because it’s uniquely inspirational and huge fun. An event like this shows you the true power of sport and it’s not about being the fastest or the fittest or the most physically able. It's about showing yourself and others that you can achieve more than you ever thought possible and that sporting achievement and physical courage takes many forms.”
What will be your Kryptonite? ”We want the Tiny Tornado to do the last 100m of the run/push in her new walker. This might be a bit of a challenge as a) she’s still learning how to use it and b) she considers straight lines rather dull!”
How do you train together? Eve and Mummy go on regular run/pushes together, along with our canine sidekick Scout. We all go on family hikes and Mummy and Daddy take turns seeing just how 'off-road' our trusty pushchair is!
What tips would you recommend to any other potential Super Sidekicks out there? “Don't panic!  There will be huge support and goodwill for you and your Superhero so take your time and enjoy it. Make sure you look around and see everyone cheering for you.”

The team’s superpower: “At the risk of sounding cheesy, it's Eve's attitude to life. She doesn't know what any of her diagnostic labels mean. If she can't do something she doesn't let it bother her; she simply finds a way round it with a cheeky grin on her face. Also beer. Beer is isotonic and hops are good for you!”


Superhero Ed

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Earth years: “25”
Hometown: “Welwyn Garden City, Buckinghamshire”
Your chosen mission: Half Superhero Tri
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I suffered a traumatic brain injury after being knocked down by a speeding taxi driver whilst crossing the road. I was in a coma for six months and spent almost two years in hospital, but thanks to the support of my family and friends I’m now able to walk and talk once more. But my balance still isn’t the best!”
Ever done anything like this before? “This will be my first big sporting event, but I’ve also taken up rowing and I’m training with a view to competing in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.”

Sporting super-stripes: “Running”
Why Superhero Tri? “I like to try to push myself as far as I can go, so when I heard about Superhero Tri, I knew I definitely wanted to take part.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “It will be a big challenge for me, but I’m looking forward to completing my training and achieving my goal of finishing the race.”
Your Kryptonite: “Cycling on slippery roads!”
Ed’s superpower: “A ‘never give up’ attitude.”


Superhero Abbie

Earth years: “14”
Hometown: “Long Eaton, Derbyshire”
Your chosen mission: “The Full Superhero Tri, with my friend Eleanor, my Dad Dave and maybe my sister Katie as my Sidekicks.”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I have a muscle-wasting disease and a spinal cord syrinx that mostly affects my spine and legs and causes severe pain and weakness, so I’m a part-time wheelchair user. But with my family and friends always encouraging and helping me, I stay positive.”
Ever done anything like this before? “I have started to do 2k and 5k park runs in my wheelchair with my sister to improve my fitness and to do exercise together.”

Sporting super-stripes: “I love taking part in sports, but always struggle due to my disability. However, my parents have always given me the confidence to have a go at anything, no matter what. I recently started playing wheelchair tennis and it is a fantastic sport. In my first year I was undefeated in both singles and doubles. I am currently the National School Games 2016 Girls Singles and Doubles Champion, the National Girls Singles and Doubles Champion and the National Junior Green Ball Doubles Champion. I have also have made some amazing friendships through playing.”
Why Superhero Tri? “I love a challenge and I want to be like everyone else for the day. I also hope to inspire others with disabilities, as we can do anything we put our minds to!!”
What you’re most looking forward to: “All of it!! Meeting all the Superheroes, having fun and proving I can do it.”
Your Kryptonite: “The bike as my balance is not very good – and coping with pain to be able to finish.”
Gadget/s of choice? “A dinghy, a tandem bike and my wheelchair.”

Abbie’s superpower: “My amazing Sidekicks, my determination and the ability to always keep smiling.”


Superhero twins Alice & Tommy, & Sidekicks James, Georgie & India

Earth years: “13”
Hometown: “Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, birthplace of the Paralympics.”
Your chosen mission: “The Sprint Superhero Tri with our parents, James and Georgie, and little sister India as Sidekicks.”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “We have quadriplegic, dystonic cerebral palsy, which means we’ll be enjoying the mission from the comfort of our wheelchairs. Whoever draws the short straw gets to do the water challenge.”
Ever done anything like this before? “We’ve done 10ks before and are climbing our first mountain in May, but never a triathlon.”

Sporting super-stripes: “Skiing, mountaineering, horse riding and football (we’re lethal from five yards out).”
Why Superhero Tri? “To raise money for the amazing people at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “We like smacking the bums of other runners as we overtake.”
Your Kryptonite: “We have brain implants, which technically make us cyborgs (but don’t tell the organisers in case we get disqualified).”
Gadget/s of choice? “Our wheelchairs. Although we haven’t yet worked out if they float…”

Alice and Tommy’s superpower: “Our smiles smash down walls.”


Superhero Amanda

Earth years: “50”
Hometown: “Oxted, Surrey”
Your chosen mission: “The Full Superhero Tri team event with my friends as guides, helpers and teammates (I am running with Roger, I’m still to decide on my cycling guide and Krista is doing the swim).
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I have macular dystrophy and nystagmus. I am registered blind. With the right help and support I can get over all my challenges.”
Ever done anything like this before? “I did a supersprint tri in 2013.”

Sporting super-stripes: “I am training for four events this year, including the Superhero Tri.”
Why Superhero Tri? “I think it is going to be a really powerful and inspirational event with so many Paralympians and people with a variety of disabilities taking part (and I get to dress as Wonder Woman!).”
What you’re most looking forward to: “Dressing up as Wonder Woman and having great fun!”
Your Kryptonite: “Transition – I forgot to take off my bike helmet for the run in my last tri.”
Gadget/s of choice: “A tandem bike.”

Amanda’s superpower: “Training with my guides and helpers. With them, anything is possible.”


Superhero Victoria

Earth years: “45”
Hometown: “London.”
Your chosen mission: “Full Superhero Tri, passing the swim onto someone else as I can’t face the water.”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “Lower leg amputee after a boat accident four years ago in which I lost my husband and 8-year-old daughter.”
Ever done anything like this before? “I've done a few 10ks and a shorter distance triathlon. I found the transition from the bike to the run really hard - my legs (or leg and half) just stopped working!”

Sporting super-stripes: “I have tried to get back to doing most things I did before I lost my leg as it makes me feel like the old me and I don’t want to be defined by my disability. I ski, run, hike, play tennis, bike, do circuit training. Running on a blade was hard to learn and is sometimes painful, but I love the freedom it gives me, to just be able to get up and go for a run in the park.”
Why Superhero Tri? “I think having small achievable goals in life helps us overcome the impossible. I never thought I would get back to running after the accident but I have and it makes me feel as though I could do anything. As a personal trainer I understand the importance of exercise, both physically and mentally, and just because we have a disability shouldn’t stop us giving anything a go.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “Finishing!”
Your Kryptonite: “The swim.”
Gadget/s of choice? “My running blade.”

Victoria's superpower: “My kids supporting me and my black spaniel Ted, who loves coming running with me and pushes me on when I am exhausted.”


Superhero Sean

Earth years: “54”
Hometown: “Bruton, Somerset”
Your chosen mission: “To complete in the Half Superhero Tri (400m swim, 10k bike, 2.5k push/run) despite my missing part.”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I had my left leg amputated in 2014 after years of pain. I struggled to become mobile and let it get me down. With lots of encouragement and support from ITV's Lorraine and inspired by the likes of Sophia and other Paralympians I was determined to get back on my 'foot' again.”
Ever done anything like this before? “I did a 5k run in 2016.”

Sporting super-stripes: “I was sporty when I was young then an accident put an end to that. I became a rather round couch potato over the subsequent years. My amputation and subsequent prosthesis has allowed me to try those things I never thought possible.”
Why Superhero Tri? “I met Sophia Warner last year and I was inspired by her enthusiasm and I wanted to step up my challenge this year.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “Joining all the others, either participating, supporting or cheering everyone on.”
Your Kryptonite: “The bike ride should be a challenge as I only learnt to ride a bike again last year.”
Gadget/s of choice? “My son Ethan as I'm hoping he will carry my leg while I am swimming.”

Sean’s superpower: “My family.”


Superhero Grace

Earth years: “12”
Hometown: “St Brelade, Jersey”
Your chosen mission: “The Sprint Superhero Tri relay with my Dad.”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I have diplegia cerebral palsy and nystagmus, so staying in my own lane can be the biggest challenge, as well as getting on and off the bike.”
Ever done anything like this before? “Not a tri, but I did the 100m and 200m in the CP National Championships in Nottingham last year.”
Sporting super-stripes: “I love sport and will have a go at anything. I used to horse ride with the Jersey RDA and I'm a brown belt in karate, which is one below black! I also enjoy wall climbing, hockey and netball at my school.”

Why Superhero Tri? “It's just so exciting! I cannot wait.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “Meeting all the other Superheroes and having a great adventure away from my beautiful little Island.”
Your Kryptonite: “My Dad, who is going to do the swim, and my sprinting.”
Gadget/s of choice? “My running shoes.”

Grace's superpower: “I’m extremely determined. I’m The Determinator!”  


Superhero Sam

Earth years: “23”
Hometown: "Kingston Upon Thames"
Your chosen Mission: “To be known as the Autistic Triathlete and to motivate others to take up sport.”

Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I am autistic and have social interaction and communication challenges. Triathlon is great for people with autism because I can do it on my own.”
Ever done anything like this before? “Yes, I did my first Sprint Tri at Dorney Lakes in 2016.”


 

Sporting super-stripes: “Sport has always been a little challenging for me, but I learnt to ice-skate and play hockey at 13 and I’ve been swimming from the age of 3. I also do Judo and started running in 2014 to help improve my social and fine motor skills. My dad and I then decided to try triathlons. I’m currently doing a sports coaching degree and when I graduate I’d like to train other people who have learning difficulties. I would love to participate in triathlons and sport for the rest of my life because it gives me confidence and keeps me fit.”
Why Superhero Tri? “Because I want to show that people with autism can participate in sport and that we can do it well. I hope others with learning difficulties try sport because it will give them more confidence.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “Doing the cycling with Homer Simpson (my Dad).”
Your Kryptonite: “Encountering new situations.”
Gadget/s of choice? “My triathlon watch.”

Sam's superpower: “Going running in the wind, snow or rain and never giving up.”


Superhero Ross

Earth years: “8”
Hometown: “Leatherhead, Surrey”
Your chosen mission: “The Full Superhero Tri with my Mum and Dad as my Sidekicks.”
Your disability and how it will challenge you: “I have a genetic mutation which causes epilepsy and a neurological disorder that will require me to need care for the rest of my life. My Sidekicks will need to get me around every bit of the course. I will be urging them along through the power of smiles!”
Ever done anything like this before? “Mum and Dad designed and ran my very own kids sprint triathlon in 2015 with 25 friends, so you could say I’m almost professional…”

Sporting super-stripes: “My list of sporting achievements is not huge (yet). But I love speed and the wind in my face always brings out my famous smile.”
Why Superhero Tri? “I’m fully dependent on others to help get me moving, but many (almost all!) organised events are not inclusive and don’t allow buggy-pushing, for example. That is why events like the Superhero Series are perfect for me.”
What you’re most looking forward to: “The crowds cheering my name in support.”
Your Kryptonite: “Dad’s addiction to chocolate… If he’s not in shape my Sidekick Mum may end up having to do the all the hard work on her own.”
Gadget/s of choice? “My Big Red Buggy, pulled behind the bike and pushed for the run.”

Ross’s superpower: “Saving the world, one smile at a time.”


Superhero Rashmi

 

 

Earth years: “52”
Hometown: “Telford, Shropshire”
Your chosen mission: “The Sprint Superhero Tri”
Your disability and how will it challenge you? “I had polio and wear a full-length caliper, which affects my mobility. It will be a challenge moving from one stage to another quickly and doing all three in one go!!”
Ever done anything like this before? “Nope.”

Sporting super-stripes: “When I was younger I swam for Bradford in the Polio Olympics and won gold medals at Stoke Mandeville. I still swim as much as possible and can do up to 32 lengths. In 2016 I joined a charity that encourages people with disabilities to go cycling. My last big ride was 152 miles Coast to Coast over 3 days. I won Woman of the Year award on Lancashire for inspiring people and raising over £2,000 for charity. I also play table tennis and visit the gym as much as my health will allow.”
Why Superhero Tri? “Because I’ve always wanted to be a Superhero....LOL. I never thought I’d be able to say that I am entering a triathlon...”
What you’re most looking forward to: “Being part of the Quest 88 team, the swimming and cycling.”
Your Kryptonite: “The running. I’ve never used a running bike before.”
Gadget/s of choice? “A handcycle and a running bike.”

Rashmi's superpower: ”Creating positive feelings by making people smile and a magic right leg that does the work of two!”