omedian Adam Hills has said a superhero-themed sports day dedicated to people with disabilities means “everything” to the community.
The host of Channel 4’s The Last Leg, who has a prosthetic foot, was among the celebrity captains who took part in the Superhero Series event on Saturday at Dorney Lake near Windsor.
He joined more than 3,500 people with disabilities and their teammates, who are encouraged to dress up as superhero characters, for the Tri challenge which includes swimming, cycling, and running.
The event, which is described as the UK’s only mass participation sports event for people with disabilities, aims to create fun sports activities where people with disabilities, hailed as superheroes, can participate without having to navigate restrictions which normally hold them back from being active.
Reflecting on the event, Hills told the PA news agency: “This is everything for the disabled community. It gets people out of the house, it gives them something to aim for, it gives them a chance to hang out with other people with disabilities because when everyone’s got a disability then no-ones got a disability.
“So this is such an important event, to just get people moving.
“What’s really interesting is apparently more and more people are doing longer and longer distances with this, so what it means is people are getting fitter and fitter, so you’re just getting them out of the house and getting them moving you’re getting them active and you’re getting them fitter.”
The challenges could either be done solo, in a team relay or those with disabilities could recruit a ‘sidekick’ teammate to tow, push and pull them around the course.
It also featured a celebrity superhero tri where some participants, who have shared their story, won a spot to compete alongside TV and sports personalities in a relay race.
Paralympic sprinting champion Thomas Young, eight-time Paralympic equestrian champion Sophie Christiansen, Paralympic swimming champion Liz Johnson and British wheelchair basketball champion Amy Conroy were among the celebrity captains who took part this year.
Hills, who is a father-of-two, said he was keen for his children to be involved in the event as he wants them to know that “nothing holds you back, and that disabilities don’t make anyone any different from the rest of us”.
“Your limits are what you decide you want them to be. You can do whatever you want”, he added.
The presenter noted that it is not only exercise that people with disabilities can end up missing out on due to lack of accommodation, but it inhibits them having the feeling of being in collective sports team.
“So it’s not just letting them play sport, it’s letting them have a better social life and people to connect with”, he added.
Hills said the Superhero Series ability to provide this opportunity and allow families to compete against each other in a way they typically would not be able to is why he feel it is “so special” .
He added: “On top of all that, it’s not just an activity and it’s not just taking place in a car park, it’s Dorney Lake. It’s music, it’s cheering, it’s just the best of humanity.”
Superhero Tri was founded by Paralympian Sophia Warner in 2017 as she felt there was a lack of sporting events for people with disabilities.
Warner said: “It is essential that superheroes are offered the opportunity to be active and experience the thrill of taking part in a large-scale sporting event.
“The Superhero Series shows what is possible when barriers are removed.”
The Superhero Tri, powered by Marvel, at Dorney Lake will air on Channel 4 on Sunday August 27 at 8:45am, hosted by Hills.
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