Welwyn Hatfield Festival of Sport celebrated

PUBLISHED: 11:33 29 May 2013 | UPDATED: 11:35 29 May 2013

Open water swimmers in Stanborough lake

Open water swimmers in Stanborough lake

Archant

A FANTASTIC day of sport was the universal view of Sunday’s Welwyn Hatfield Festival of Sport at Stanborough Park.

The festival, organised by Hercules Events in partnership with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, attracted hundreds of competitors from young children to Team GB members.

They competed in a wide range of events, including three triathlons, three open water swim races (5km, 3km and 7.5m), a 100km cycle, a 10km run and a 1.5km children’s fun run.

The first events were a series of three triathlons which set off between 7am and 7.30am.

Spectators were treated to the sight of hundreds of wetsuit clad triathletes plunging into Stanborough Lake to swim 750m, before racing out of the water to mount their bikes for a 40km cycle.

On their return to the park they embarked upon the third leg of their race with a 10km run.

At 8.30am cyclists formed at the start line before setting off on a 100km cycle across Hertfordshire, the leaders returning within three-and-a-half hours.

At 9am attention focused on the lake again where the long distance open water swimmers prepared to undertake races of up to five kilometres.

Men and women competed on an equal footing, and in the 3,000m race the first three swimmers home were women.

Within an hour runners, including MP Grant Shapps and his wife Belinda as well as Welwyn Hatfield Council sports champion Cllr Darren Bennett, were forming up for the 10km race.

For many the highlight of the day was the children’s fun run that attracted a large field from Welwyn Hatfield schools.

Planning is underway for next year’s Festival of Sport, which promises to be bigger and better.

Praise was given to the many people who gave up their time to support the event including Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, PC Rupert Gadd of Herts Police, the Finesse Leisure team, Jenny Colledge and the RAF Cadets, and Peter Lansdown and the Royal Marines Cadets.

Shapps said: “Last year it was an honour to present prizes at the Hercules Stanborough Lakes Triathlon, but this year everything was even bigger and better with this weekend’s event forming the Welwyn Hatfield Festival of Sports which has been absent from our area for 25 years.

“With more events, including the 10k run and a kids 1.5km fun run, it was sure to be an enjoyable day out.

“Overall it was a great day of sporting activity right in the heart of our area.”

Cllr Bennett added: “I would like to thank Hercules Events and all the volunteers for a wonderful Festival of Sport on Sunday, and was truly honoured to have taken part in the 10k run, along with the MP Grant Shapps, and all the amazing participants.

“This is the third year of the triathlon, and I am hoping that we can work together to make the Festival Of Sport even better next year.”

Gifty Enright, Hercules Events director, added: “The Festival of Sport exceeded all of our expectations. Welwyn Hatfield residents came out in force to watch elite athletes and to support family and friends who were taking part in the many events.

“We were particularly delighted that so many children from local schools and a few toddlers took part in the fun run.

“We are also delighted to announce that we are already working with Welwyn Hatfield sports champion Cllr Bennett to stage Welwyn Hatfield’s first ever half marathon event.

“We are sure this will be a success that everyone can get behind and will also become a big day in the sporting calendar.”


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