George took part in last year’s Flight Centre Schools Triathlons at Bradfield College with his mates, Oli, Ollli and Ben from Elstree School. Their team was the Flaming Gummy Bears. Charlotte spoke to George about his motivations, creative fundraising ideas and any tips he had for future triathletes.
The Flaming Gummy Bears standing on the podium after their success of completing the triathlon
What motivated you to take part?
George isn’t afraid to take himself out of his comfort zone and try something new. He revealed; ‘I am quite competitive and like a challenge’, referring to both the triathlon and the fundraising aspect. George is a go getter with a great attitude: and threw himself into every part of the event.
George with his bike and helmet waiting to start his cycle
‘I had done a Scootathlon (scoot/bike/run) when I was much younger at Dorney Lake and I had also done a couple of individual triathlons (at Henley) but had never done a team triathlon competition.’
‘It sounded fun’ he bursted with joy as he recalled the moment he decided to take on a triathlon as a team sport. The Schools Triathlon is a collective effort. Teams of four take part in all three sports disciplines, it’s not competitive and team spirit and taking part really count.
George speeding around the bike course
Another great benefit of the triathlons is that they bring people together. George used it as a great opportunity to grow his new friendships. ‘I was new to Elstree and it was a good way to get to know some of my classmates better.’
George was also motivated by compassion and told me that ‘it felt good to be raising money for a good cause.’ By fundraising for Restless Development, George and his 3 other teammates alone supported more than 216 young people around the world, enabling them to lead on making positive change in their lives and the lives of people in their communities. Whether it’s combating the effects of climate change or tackling issues such as gender equality. This is a huge success, and one George and his team mates should be extremely proud of.
Fundraising ideas and tips
Fundraising is a fantastic way to enhance valuable skills that can be utilised in everyday life. Thinking creatively and using one’s initiative are just two of the many skills that can be developed.
George’s sister helping him pick fruit in Scotland
George certainly made the most of this opportunity and came up with an incredibly creative way to raise money for Restless Development and his school’s chosen charity.
George’s sister assisting with the Jam making
‘I made jam and sold it – we picked the fruit at a pick your own in Scotland near where my Granny lives.’
The delicious Jam George was cooking up
George picked the Jam with his sister and mum, making it a fun activity for the whole family.
Packed and ready to sell.
The Flaming Gummy Bears created a JustGiving team page, supporting each other to reach their fundraising targets. George offered some encouraging advice to future fundraisers:
‘Ask your friends and family to get involved, tell them why it is a good cause and remember to thank them afterwards! We also shared some photos with our sponsors so they could see The Flaming Gummy Bears in action!’
Sharing photos with donors on your JustGiving page will increase your donations by 14% compared to those who don’t add photos! Keeping donors engaged and thanking them is key to fundraising success. It reminds them what you are doing, giving evidence of your hard work and being appreciative of their support will likely motivate them to donate again.
Preparation and Advice
George is naturally athletic, he told us ‘I enjoy sport all year round’. But he still thinks doing a little training is worthwhile, ‘as the triathlon got nearer I did some more running.’
George got involved in the community run as part of his training, ‘I enjoy doing our local 5km Parks Run which is sociable, fun and a good way to train.’
The Flaming Gummy Bears standing proudly with their medals and water bottles
Like many triathletes George encouraged fitting cycling and running into your daily routine, saying he ‘tried to bike more, instead of jumping on a bus or getting in the car. In London I can cycle to rugby and cricket along the Thames Tow Path.’
He has also benefited from spending more time with his family and getting them more active as well. ‘My Grandfather takes me swimming in the mornings when we are staying with them, to do lengths.’ In the end swimming was George’s favourite discipline; ‘‘the swim was exciting as there was a great atmosphere in the pool and we are all able to cheer each other on.’ Swimming is the first sport of the day, and parents cheer from the sidelines. The noises echoing loudly around the pool create an electric atmosphere.
Although better than all the sports, said George was the finish line; ‘I think my most fun part was at the end of the triathlon when we all joined together for the end of the run – we crossed the finish line as a team which was a great feeling.’ Teams sprint over the finish line together, to then be awarded with medals and goody bags, celebrating their success.
The Flaming Gummy Bears crossing the finish line together
As well as watching the triathlons, families can enjoy so much more, there are lots of stalls with games, sweets, ice cream and more. So once The Flaming Gummy Bears had completed the course as ‘it was a hot day, we [the team and their families] had a picnic altogether!’
George and his friend having a fun time dressing up at the Flight Centre Stand
And what was George’s last piece of advice as a Triathlon champion? ‘Be prepared for each leg (check you have the right kit e.g. your goggles and cycle helmet, know the rules in transition) and HAVE FUN.’
The team look very prepared for the start of the triathlon
Thank you George for offering your inspirational perspective on the triathlons – we were honoured to have had you participate and look forward to more pupils from Elstree and many other schools taking part in this year’s Schools Triathlon at Bradfield College, whilst raising money for Restless Development and the schools chosen charity.