Deric Hartigan, of Dublin, was announced as the winner of the first-ever Aropec Community Triathlete of the Year award at the Jailbreak Triathlon in Cobh, County Cork, Ireland on Sunday 11 September.
Hartigan, who has competed in the sport for more than five years, received the award in a post-race ceremony from Aropec’s Alex Mead, who described his work with TRI10 as ‘inspirational’ and a ‘truly fitting’ winner of the inaugural accolade.
TRI10 (@TRI10 on Twitter) was set up by TV3 Ireland presenter Hartigan earlier this year to inspire people to try the sport while also raising money for local charities. Receiving the award, Hartigan said: “I’m absolutely delighted and honoured to accept this Aropec Community Triathlete of the Year award on behalf of the TRI10 team. From our first lap of the pool back in March to swimming 2km across the second largest natural harbour in the world down in Cobh, Co. Cork; it’s been an epic journey of self-discovery, fitness and fundraising for all of the team members involved. We were delighted to help so many local charities along the way and we look forward to bringing our spirited determination & enthusiasm to many other races across Ireland and the UK in 2017.”
Hartigan’s team of ten newcomers were to complete in ten triathlons across Ireland, raising vital funds for the charity supported at each event. The charities that benefit from the Deric and his team’s work included Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, Multiple Sclerosis Ireland, Gavin Glynn Foundation, Seal Sanctuary of Ireland, Waterford Marine Search and Rescue, Croi Stroke Centre, Cancer Care West, Focus Ireland for the Homeless and Wheelchair Association of Ireland.
The triathlon newbies in the team had their own fair share of adversity to overcome, both before and during the triathlon challenge. Greg Starr lost an incredible eight stone and featured on the TV show Operation Transformation and triathlon has ensured that weight has stayed off. Martina Hanna has also fought a battle with depression, read her story here and has enjoyed a new lease of life through the sport.
Tony Rowe, managing director of Aropec UK, said: “Everyone at Aropec has enjoyed following the story of Deric and TRI10 all season long and we couldn’t think of a more suitable winner for our first Community Triathlete of the Year award. He’s inspired a lot of people and made a lot of money for charity in the process. We’re excited about seeing what he’s going to do next year now.”
The search for the 2017 Aropec Community Triathlete of the Year has already started and anyone wishing to nominate a triathlete who they feel has gone above and beyond – whether it’s coaching the youth, raising money for charity or volunteering – should get in touch with Aropec via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through Twitter (@aropecsports), Facebook (@aropecuk) or by calling +44 (0)1803 664993.