‘Team Ladybugs’ are a father and daughter pair who have completed countless triathlons around the world, promoting the fact that people with disabilities don’t have boundaries.
Stephan and Chloe Couture have been taking part in swim, bike, run events for a number of years, racing for the love of it but also to carry on the conversation around disability participation in sport.
“We want to raise awareness and broaden the outlook that disabilities don’t have to have boundaries,” said dad, Stephan. “Showing that anyone can get involved and encourage people to take part is what we want to show.”
Chloe, who was born with cerebral palsy and is registered severely visually impaired, is totally dependent on her parents and takes part in triathlon with Stephan towing her in a kayak on the swim and a modified chair for the bike, before pushing her wheelchair on the run.
“Chloe loves it, I love it; and for us, taking part about raising awareness of disabled people taking part in sport and society,” commented Stephan. “She lives for her racing and as long as we’re out together, she loves it.
“It allows her to enjoy the social side of taking part as others say hello all the time, plus, being outside is a really stimulating sensory experience for her.”
Through the early lockdown, Stephan, Chloe and her mum Diane were shielding, with Stephan and Chloe taking to the lanes near where they live to continue enjoying their time together.
“We went out where we could safely and, knowing that the lanes around our home were quiet, gave us the opportunity to keep active which Chloe loves even though we haven’t been able to swim,” added Stephan.
“We racked up a fair few miles on the lanes before heading down to Mallory Park to use their track and lake there once the initial lockdown eased.”
These Covid-19 Secure sessions at Mallory Park allowed Team Ladybugs to swim, bike and run in a safe environment on a regular basis and was also the venue for them to complete the AJ Bell World Triathlon Series Virtual Challenge.
“To have the opportunity to take part in the virtual event has given us something to train for,” noted Stephan. “This was our first timed triathlon since lockdown, and it was a great experience and something we thoroughly enjoyed.
“Chloe loved being back out on the water in her kayak and we did a 1600m swim, 40km ride and 15km run in a total of four hours and twenty-six minutes, splitting the disciplines over three consecutive days.”
Since completing the virtual challenge, Team Ladybugs have been regulars down at Mallory Park for Race Rapid’s open training sessions, helping them to keep active and complete a series of other challenges.
“We completed a 75-mile VJ Day Anniversary run in August,” Stephan said. “We’ve also completed 54 virtual challenges, as well as clocking up the miles at Mallory and have 38 lined up for the rest of the year.
“We’ve covered over 1,500 miles during the pandemic. We have really missed the comradeship of other competitors and the support from the crowds, like everybody else that has been training it has been quite lonely but I’m lucky to have Chloe with me as she keeps me going with her singing, laughing and huge smiles.”
You can read Team Ladybugs’ tips for taking part in physical activity with a disability on the button below and follow them on Instagram (@ladybugstrust) to keep upto date with what they’re doing.