An honorary member of Havering Tri, Nikki Bartlett has many titles, IRONMAN champion, gold medal winning paratriathlon guide for Alison Peasgood and now…spiderman.
“At the beginning of the spring lockdown Bex, my partner, and I wanted to find ways of helping people who live near us,” Bartlett said. “We posted notes to offer help for anyone who couldn’t or didn’t want to go out.
“I was scrolling online for inspiration of what else we could do and saw costumes! Once the Spiderman outfit had arrived, I made holes in the face for my eyes, nose and mouth and set off on my run to see what reaction I’d get from people who were out and about and in the houses I run passed.”
From that first run, people were smiling, cheering and waving her on and Bartlett decided that that was going to be her way of supporting people through lockdown and bringing some joy.
“I did it for about six weeks as my once-a-day piece of exercise,” she continued. “The Spiderman runs were my easy runs or warm up and cool downs for my key sessions at home.
“There’s a Facebook page for our estate and one of our neighbours told us that there were pictures all over it of us. We joined the page to see the reactions. From there we were asked to run by people’s houses when it was their child’s birthday as a way of making their lockdown birthday something special.”
This year has also seen Bartlett have success as herself, entering events and taking silver at Helvellyn Triathlon and Outlaw X when racing resumed.
“Helvellyn was an incredible experience,” she commented. “Lucy Gossage had entered and was nudging me to do, and then I saw that the PTO [Professional Triathletes Organisation] was backing it. I had a quick look at the event and realised that it was a bucket-list event to take part in.
“It’s completely different to anything I’d done before and would recommend people give it a go. It was 0 degrees at the top and visibility was 15m. I barely ran up, It’s more scrambling up and trying to fell run.
“It’s a surreal race, that challenges you like nothing I’d done before and I was absolutely buzzing when I reached the finish.”
Now, with the countdown to Christmas, Bartlett is exploring how to bring the same joy with a hint of Christmas cheer however has one more race before the end of the year.
“I’ve spotted an inflatable Santa outfit online,” she added. “ I’m thinking that maybe in the run up to Christmas that it might be a nice way of bringing smiles back onto people’s faces.
“Before that however, I’m taking part in the PTO 2020 Championship Challenge Daytona on the first weekend in December. It’s a race that takes place entirely within the racetrack there, has a star-studded field and a prize purse of $1 million.
“It’s something I probably wouldn’t do in a normal year because of the time of year and when Kona would normally be, but it’s an incredible race and, with the others that have been invited, is set to be a fantastic experience and one that I’m thrilled to have been asked to compete in.”
Photo Credit: ITU Media