Between the 6-8th September, just as the Paralympics Games start in Rio, Doug and Patrick, two young Londoners working in finance, are travelling to Rwanda to accomplish an unprecedented challenge. During 3 consecutive days, they will complete a blind marathon, a wheelchair marathon and a 2km ‘no-leg- swim’ in Lake Kivu.
Particularly touched by the struggles facing people with disabilities in Africa, Doug and Patrick decided to do this ‘mad triathlon’ to raise awareness and funds. As Doug explains, “life for those with disabilities in Africa is so often not much of a life at all. On top of the practical difficulties (e.g.: lack of basic facilities, funding, treatment, equipment.), there is also all too often the effects of deep social stigma, including severe mistreatment. The causes we are supporting do incredible work to give those living with disabilities the freedom, respect and dignity that every person should be entitled to”.
© Douglas Flynn and Patrick Jenkinson
The two friends have been training hard for the past 8 months – their aim was to recreate and experience as much as possible some of the challenges faced by people living with disabilities. “The last 8 months have been a massive learning curve, and incredibly humbling at times” Patrick adds.
For the blind marathon, Patrick and Doug will be doing it as a pair. Taking it in turns to either be blindfolded or guide the other person. “Running without use of sight requires unflinching concentration from the guide throughout, constant communication and complete trust from the guided partner” explains Patrick.
The wheelchair marathon is the most daunting of all the events for the two friends: “It is not only physically demanding on the upper body, the long hours in the chair cause extreme pain in the back and hamstrings.” Finally with their legs tied together, they will complete the 2km swim using only their arms.
Doug and Patrick are aiming to raise £20,000 to support two organisations working with disabled people in developing countries. One of them is Handicap International: “We decided to support Handicap International as we are very impressed by the quality and impact of their work to help disabled people living in extreme situation of poverty and exclusion”.
For more information or to donate to their challenge, visit www.triathlon-untested.org
Doug and Patrick are available for interviews.
About Handicap International
Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Handicap International is a charity working in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. We work tirelessly alongside disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights.