Physical activity is a big part of my life and if I’ve inspired others to get involved then that is a great feeling! – Matthew Dawson, September 2021

It is the summer of 2021 and Access Sport trustee Matthew Dawson has embarked on an epic triathlon in aid of Access Sport. Matthew’s triathlon will include a 335km cycle from the East to the West coast of the UK in June, followed by 17km swim in Lake Windemere in August before finally completing the London Marathon in October.

Matthew's Tri Challenge:

Matthew, based in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, has been a trustee of Access Sport since 2020 and a keen supporter since 2013. An IT Director and father of two young children, Matthew is an endurance athlete in his spare time. Access Sport’s mission is close to Matthew’s heart: he believes passionately that sport can change lives, and that it should be a basic right for everyone from all backgrounds.

A key part of Matthew’s ambition is to raise awareness and raise funds for Access Sport, so that the charity can continue its work providing opportunities in sport for those who need them most.

Physical activity for me is like brushing my teeth, it’s part of my everyday life and if I didn’t have it, I would go crazy. Over the years being active has helped me control my stress levels, and this has become even more important in the pandemic because it makes me get up from my desk and take a break during the day. It has also shown me that the limits are there to be pushed; I love to see how far I can push myself and I want to help inspire others to push themselves beyond their limits.

CHALLENGE 1 - Cycle From East Coast to West Coast

Matthew embarked on the first stage of his triathlon – a 335km cycle - early on Saturday 19th June 2021, successfully completing the ride from the East to the West coast of the UK.

CHALLENGE 2 - Swim The Length of Lake Windemere

After a short rest, Matthew turned his attention towards his swim, now less than two months away and scheduled for 14th August:

Each of the events will have its challenges. The ride was tough, but because there were four of us riding, we could all help each other. The swim will be tough, especially as since swimming the Channel I’ve had a couple of major surgeries, which now make swimming in cold water really hard at times. So, the swim will be as much a mental struggle, dealing with the pain and discomfort, as well as the physical challenge of swimming in the cold water. I also suffer from calf and Achilles issues so need to make sure I manage these for the London Marathon, but I’m sure the crowd and other runners will get me round.

On 24th August, Matthew swam the 17km length of Lake Windemere in 4 hours and 35 minutes. An extraordinary achievement!


CHALLENGE 3 - Run The London Marathon

The final stage of Matthew’s triathlon - the London Marathon – took place on 3 October 2021 and was set to be the biggest running event in history with over 50,000 runners completing the 26.2 miles along the traditional course from Greenwich to The Mall and an estimated 50,000 runners completing the distance anywhere in the world.

The event also marked the 40th Anniversary of the London Marathon Charitable Trust and Matthew had been chosen as one of the 40 LMCT runners, representing Access Sport as an organisation who has benefited from LMCT funding.

Matthew completed the marathon in 3 hours and 41 minutes, faster than he was expecting:

The marathon was a really tough endurance challenge, not least because I only had 5 weeks of run training due to an injury earlier in the year.  Thankfully training for the other events and the fantastic crowds pulled me through, especially in the last few miles when my mind and body were in conflict with each other!  It was so good to see so many people lining the streets of London, lifting our spirits and helping us get to the end.


Congratulations Matthew!!

If you would still like to support Matthew you can sponsor him below.


The Finish Line...

Matthew may have finished his epic triathlon but his extraordinary challenge has also inspired others to be active, challenge themselves, and fundraise to enable more disadvantaged young people to also receive the mental and physical benefits of sport through the new Tri with Access Sport challenge.

Matthew personally raised a total of £5,200 and, combined with everyone that was inspired to take part in a challenge, has lead the way to an incredible total of £17,413!

On behalf of everyone at Access Sport we would like to say a massive thank you to Matthew, the crew that joined him for the first challenge, and everyone else that took part and supported.

All money raised will enable Access Sport to help more disabled young people and those from under-served communities to access the benefits of sport.

Matthew's triathlon caught the attention of local media along the way including the Watford Observer, In Your Area Hertfordshire and the Westmorland Gazette.


If you would like to take part in Tri with Access Sport with your own challenge, or donate to support the campaign, you can do so via the challenge campaign page on Just Giving - please click below.