Eight-year old Bailey Matthews has celebral palsy, but that didn’t stop this determined boy from Worksop, Notts, to take part in an extremely physical Castle Howard Triathlon in North Yorkshire. Successfully, he crossed the finish line in his special walking frame, with the crowd cheering for him from the side.
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As he reached the end, his proud father, Jonathan Matthews, hugged his brave son who stumbled twice. Bailey had just completed his 100-meter swim, 4 km bike ride, and 1.3 km run, making his father proud of what he had achieved. His father also took part in the triathlon with him.
His parents were also overwhelmed by the support their son received from the crowd, who had stayed behind to watch Bailey finish one of the country’s most difficult triathlon courses.
Julie Hardcastle, Bailey’s mother, said, “You could see his little face when he came round and saw everyone; that was his way of finishing in style and showing everyone what he could do. It was the response from the crowd that pushed him to do that.”
Bailey was born nine weeks early, but it was not until he was 18 months old that he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Bailey’s interest in triathlon began after his 47-year old father started pushing him to finish a 5 km course at a weekly Park Run event. With the aid of a walking frame, Bailey got around the course by himself. It was then that the little boy told his dad that he wanted to take part on a triathlon. He had began training on a bike fitted with special stabilizers and started swimming in a nearby lake.
His father said, “The majority of what he does is self-propelled. He sets his own goals when he is swimming and says ‘I am going to do x amount of meters today.'”
”The Castle Howard Triathlon is a very difficult, rough course; there is no way in the world he could do it unaided because of how undulating and uneven the ground was. It would have been very difficult even for able-bodied children. Because of the size and weight of his walking frame, it is sometimes easier for him to walk unaided than to drag it along. The response of the spectators was overwhelming, he came last, but everyone was waiting for him, which they didn’t have to.”
Just like any kid with cerebral palsy, Bailey struggles with the usual things other kids his age take for granted, just like getting dressed.
”Every day, things are more difficult for him, but he never lets it bother him. He doesn’t see himself as different to anyone else,” his mother said. ”We have always tried to make sure that if there is something he wants to do, there is no such word as ‘can’t.’
”He had made his mind up; we knew he would do it, but I didn’t expect the reaction from everyone else.
The difficult thing is that for us it is normal. We know how amazing he is, but the response we have had from other people has been amazing. He inspires us all the time.”
Check out his video below
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