A superhero sporting event for people with disabilities, which features popular Marvel characters, aims to build confidence, the organiser has said.
The Superhero Tri event, on Saturday, saw more than 3,000 people with disabilities and their “sidekicks” take part in different sporting challenges including swimming and cycling.
The event, which is in its sixth year and is happening in person for the first time since the pandemic at the 2012 Paralympic rowing venue at Dorney Lake, Windsor, – also featured “the Celebrity Superhero Tri”, where randomly selected superheroes took part in a relay race with sporting and TV stars, including comedian and television presenter Alex Brooker.
Mr Brooker told the PA news agency that he hopes the event will help those who are disabled feel “included”.
He said: “Sometimes with school sports it’s difficult, so having something like the Superhero Series allows you to meet other people like them in the same situation and to have the same restrictions.
“For families to get together at such a brilliant event, to get out and and get active is just wonderful.”
Mr Brooker also said that having superheroes who are representative is important, with iconic Marvel characters including Spiderman and Black Widow in attendance at the event to unleash their superpowers onto participants.
“When I was growing up, I was into the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles because they had three fingers like me, so they were my superheroes,” Mr Brooker added.
Sophia Warner, a Paralympian and founder of the Superhero Series, said that she wanted to create the “unique” sporting event so that “people with all kinds of disabilities feel part of a strong community and, crucially, where they can feel confident, they’ll be part of the majority rather than the minority”.
Clare Balding, who filmed and hosted the event, told PA that she has loved “seeing everyone here dressed up as their favourite Marvel characters”.
She added: “I think it gives it a real sense of fun. It goes back again to that possibility thing, it takes it from a level of ‘we’ll do this’ to a level of ‘we have superpowers’ which means we can overachieve.
She said that founder Sophia Warner is at the “very top” of her superheroes list.
She’s done a terrific job with this, and also to keep the commitment involved in making sure the communication is out there all the time and to say to people ‘you can be part of it’ and just when it started building momentum, then covid hit, to not lose that momentum completely and to be - I think - back in a position where it’s bigger than ever is just insane— Clare Balding on Sophia Warner
“She’s done a terrific job with this, and also to keep the commitment involved in making sure the communication is out there all the time and to say to people, ‘you can be part of it’ and just when it started building momentum, then Covid hit, to not lose that momentum completely and to be, I think, back in a position where it’s bigger than ever is just insane,” she added.
Highlights from The Superhero Series’ Superhero Tri are to air on Channel 4 at 8.30am on Sunday September 4.