The annual Flight Centre schools triathlon has returned for its third year, hoping to become the schools’ equivalent of the London Marathon.
Cranleigh School hosted the third in a series of four Flight Centre schools triathlon events at the weekend, with pupils raising more than £70,000 for charity.
On Sunday May 13, more than 700 children from the local area took place in the triathlon event at the Surrey school, raising money for Restless Development.
The Flight Centre schools triathlon is a series of four events encouraging children aged seven to 13 to participate in triathlons in a safe and non-competitive environment while raising money for charity.
Events also took place at Bradfield College, Berkshire, and Marlborough College, Wiltshire, in May, with participants raising £320,000 in total.
As well as sponsoring the event, Flight Centre offered participants the chance to win a nine-night holiday to California for a family of four.
Everyone who took part was entered into the draw and the winner was announced at the final triathlon event, at Marlborough College on May 20.
The holiday included flights to LA, Disney Hopper tickets, a stay in Palm Springs, an Indian Canyons jeep and hiking tour, three nights in San Diego, a family surf lesson on Huntington Beach and more.
Martin Reader, headmaster of Cranleigh School, said: “Having finished a stint on registration with lots of excited children all ready for the off, I wandered round the site to see how the volunteers were getting along. One of them said, rushing off to greet another group of children sprinting for the finish line, ‘This is brilliant, they have so much energy and fun and look there are smiles everywhere.’ And they raised over £70,000 for charity too!”
Since 2016 more than 3,500 children between the ages of seven and 13 have taken part and raised nearly £720,000 for charity.
Around 50 prep schools from local areas take part and put together teams for the events.
The Flight Centre schools triathlon supports Restless Development, an international development charity that puts young people at the very heart of dealing with the issues that affect them, their communities, and their countries.
The events raise funds for Restless Development and the chosen charities of the host and participating schools.
Chris Galanty, managing director of Flight Centre Europe and South Africa, said: “It’s a privilege to be the lead sponsor of an event that encourages young people to both get active and think about the needs of others.
“Flight Centre and Restless Development are a natural fit; Restless Development is all about young people trying to change the world and our purpose is to open up the world for those who want to see it.”
Jim Sewell, trustee of Restless, said: “The Flight Centre schools triathlon has gone from strength to strength each year and it is brilliant to see the support from the children, parents and partnering schools alike.
“Their efforts will help thousands of children in developing countries access health education and life skills which will transform their lives.
“The children have really understood that they can make a difference and the combination of sport and charity in a children’s event has been incredibly powerful.
“I’m so excited about the potential for this event – we see it becoming the schools’ equivalent of the London Marathon.”
In 2016, two schools, took part in the first ever Flight Centre schools triathlon, raising an amazing £110,000.
Four schools took part in 2017, and each participant committed to raise a minimum of £50.
The charity plans to add many more triathlons over the next few years and aims to raise £1million by its fifth year.
Specialising in tailor made holidays and premium and round the world flights, Flight Centre is one of the world’s largest travel retailers.
It has over 80 stores throughout the UK, with new stores opening regularly.
Any school interested in taking part in or hosting a 2019 triathlon event should contact Jim Sewell at email@example.com