From injury setback to charity fundraiser

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“I won’t get to the Olympics sat on my bum” are the words of nine-year-old Olivia Hayman who has been swim, bike and running her way through lockdown to raise money for MacMillan Cancer Support.

With dreams of one day racing at the Olympics, 2020 hasn’t been the year that Olivia was expecting or hoping for.

At the beginning of the year, she had to have two operations which cast doubt on her being able to train or race properly, however, four weeks after the operation she was raring to go again only to find that, like the rest of the country, her races and club training for 2020 had all been cancelled.

From a young age she has been a successful athlete, finishing sixth out of 100 athletes in the Independent School Association cross country aged five.

“She’s an avid member of Ludlow Junior Triathlon and British Triathlon and represents her school throughout the year,” said her mum, Moray. “When lockdown hit and all her racing and training was taken off the calendar, it hit her hard mentally.”

Event organisers across the country have set up virtual challenges and opportunities for their participants to take part and keep active during lockdown, including Castle Triathlon Series where Olivia was able to find her triathlon fix.

Above: Olivia's dad has also taken on his first duathlon, with her younger sister also trying to keep up

“In June we came across the Cheshire Cat virtual challenges from Castle Triathlon which Olivia jumped on straight away,” commented Moray. “She competed in the duathlon and running races over the event period.

“Having those opportunities to compete saw her get the bug again and she wanted to compete in more, so we signed her up to the Kentish Horse virtual challenge, again with Castle Triathlon.”

The Castle Virtual Series gives participants the chance to fundraise for MacMillan Cancer Support, with Olivia setting the target of raising £150 through taking part in the Kentish Horse.

“In a few days, with the support of family and friends and her wonderful school Bedstone College, she’d passed that total,” added Moray. “She even inspired her dad to compete in his first duathlon.

“She’s a true inspiration and pushes herself daily, and even has a ‘mini-me’ in the form of her younger sister Willow who is currently too young to compete.”

As the Kentish Horse rolled around, Olivia competed in the 8-10 triathlon, duathlon and 5km run, finishing first in the triathlon and second in the duathlon. Dad, Darren, completed his sprint duathlon in 01:19:22 and set the fourth fastest time in his category.

Their achievements didn’t stop there however, with their fundraising for MacMillan topping £600 so far. Across the Castle Virtual Series, participants have helped to raise over £30,000 for the charity, with 20% of entry fees going to MacMillan.

Olivia has signed up to take part and continue fundraising at The Yorkshire Terrier virtual challenge, the seventh race in the Castle Virtual Series.

Across the weekend of 24-26 July, The Yorkshire Terrier from Castle Triathlon is offering participants the chance to compete in various triathlon, multisport and single-discipline virtual races, with the option to complete them from home in one go or spread over the challenge weekend.

You can donate to her fundraising and find out more about the event on the links below.

Donate Castle Virtual Series

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