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The inaugural Jenson Button Triathlon saw competitors take on the F1 driver and raised over £20,000 for Help for Heroes.

Jenson Button is now a well-established triathlete

The Former F1 World Champion and current Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver, Jenson Button, treated spectators at Luton Hoo Estate to a display of strength, speed, and endurance, but on this occasion there were no cars were to be seen, as Button and his competitors swam, cycled and ran at the inaugural Jenson Button Trust Triathlon.

The event, organised by leading mass participation events company, Human Race, welcomed around 300 competitors to the beautiful setting in Bedfordshire in aid of raising money for Button’s chosen charity Help For Heroes.

The event featured an innovative race format as competitors raced the 300m swim, 9km Bike and 2.5km run around the picturesque grounds in the morning and again in the afternoon in an eliminator style competition. The top 50 males in each heat were placed into a final with the remaining athletes left to compete in the ‘wooden spoon’ race with gold, silver and bronze wooden spoons signed by Jenson Button up for grabs. The work was cut out for the females who had to go all out in both races as the podium spots were determined by a cumulative time across the two heats.

The morning’s waves were competitive with Tommy Vonach winning the first exclaiming he was “ready to challenge Jenson in the final!” To which Buttons response was simply “Bring it on!” With the pressure on, Button qualified for the final in 9th position with a time of 32:04, but there was a sense he and others were conserving energy for their second race of the day.

The conditions at Luton Hoo were certainly testing with athletes competing in 32 degree heat and the first of the female waves taking place under the burning midday sun, following which athletes made the most of a 1 hour pit stop to refuel before the afternoon races.

The female competition was won by, Emily McLoughin who battled through the heat in her trademark plaits. McLoughin was chased throughout by Stacey Penn and Lucy Smith but finished in pole position in both heats with total time of 1:02:21.  “I find it difficult being out in front and not knowing what is happening in the race behind me, but my determination to get me through to that finishing tape first kept me going, and I’m so glad it paid off.” Stacey Penn (1:04:28) secured silver and Lucy Smith (1:05:41) took bronze chopping of 51 seconds in her second race.

The event was not only aimed at seasoned triathletes but also those wanting to have a go at their first triathlon. Among them, Jennifer Waterfield, took on her very first triathlon, finding the second race tough but also improved on her second race and impressively placed 11th. “I felt a lot more confident going into that second race as I knew the course and what was coming. I’ve be racing for Help For Heroes in support of my brother who has just gone back to Afghanistan. It is a great cause that I will continue to support.” The Jenson Button Trust raised an amazing total of £20,000 for Help For Heroes.

With most competitors now back in the event village and expectation from spectators at its buzzing peak, it was time for the final of the men’s competition. Conversation and debate about the potential result had been rippling through the event village; despite winning his heat, Brian Keane claimed he held back to ensure he had enough in the tank left for the afternoon final, and the eyes of most spectators and the media were focused on Jenson Button, to see how much he had left in the tank.

Knocking off 46 seconds from his first heat, Keane stormed out of transition 1 showing the other triathletes he meant business and his confidence on the final run leg shone through as he pulled away from the rest of the field on each stride to finish in 26:37 and take the men’s title at the inaugural Jenson Button Trust Triathlon. Carl Shaw held on to second place crossing the line in 27:21, with Sam Wade snapping up the bronze in 27:47.

Jenson Button was delighted by the event “It’s been fantastic to see everyone here competing and enjoying themselves. There’s been some really competitive racing and, most importantly, we’ve raised a good amount for charity and had fun doing it.

“There’s still time to raise money for Help for Heroes and there’s some amazing prizes for the top fundraisers, including a VIP trip to the Monaco Grand Prix in 2013 for the person who raises the most, so keep the money coming in!”

Now in its third year, The Jenson Button Trust has raised vast sums of money for a number of charities close to Jenson’s heart. In addition to the funds raised by participants, profits from the Triathlon will be donated to Help for Heroes via The Jenson Button Trust. Special fundraising prizes, including a VIP trip to the Monaco Grand Prix in 2013, will be awarded top fundraisers after the closing date of Monday, 3rd September.

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