A home swim, bike and run to Tokyo


Optima Racing Team from London are completing a swim, bike and run from the capital to Tokyo, without going very far at all.

Over the weekend of 9 and 10 May, members of the club, and their friends and families, will be taking to their paddling pools, turbos and treadmills as they look to collectively clock-up the 9,585km from their base in Kew to the Japanese capital.

The club are doing it to raise money for two charities that they have personal connections to and who have had their fundraising affected by the cancellation of many events so far this year.

James Marler, one of the club’s coaches, said: “The challenge idea came about when Mark, who runs our TriStars [juniors] thought we should be doing our bit to help the wider community and raise money, and we wanted charities with a personal connection to us.”

The two charities are, Duchenne UK, who are dedicated to helping people who suffer from muscular dystrophy, including family of one of the club’s members; and The Princess Alice Hospice, who help over one million people in their area, including a close family friend of someone within the club.

The club chose Tokyo because it will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer following its postponement from 2020, but also as an encouragement to one of their members, South African triathlete Gill Sanders, who is looking to compete at her third consecutive Olympics.

The challenge will start at 8am on Saturday 9 May, with an arranged group ride on Zwift and a Zoom call for participants to connect to, with the same happening on Sunday. This Grand Depart will give members and friends and family of the club the opportunity to ride together at the beginning of each day.

Throughout the lockdown the club have trained virtually, allowing members to connect with each other via Zoom and Zwift for running, cycling and strength sessions.

“All sessions have been really well attended,” added Marler. “People have continued to go running and have been very sensible about when and where. Swimming was always going to be tricky!”

The swimming in the challenge will be completed by members with private pools set up at home, with athletes being tethered to a fixed pole, meaning they create an endless pool effect.

You can follow their progress on Twitter @OptimaTeam and find out more and donate to their charities on Just Giving.


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