Superhero sports event aims to help those with disabilities find ‘inner powers’

A superhero sports event for people with disabilities featuring popular Marvel characters is designed to build trust, organizers say.

At the Superhero Tri event on Saturday, more than 3,000 people with disabilities and their “buddies” took part in various sporting challenges such as swimming and cycling.

The event, now in its sixth year and taking place in-person for the first time since the pandemic at the 2012 Paralympic Rowing Grounds in Dorney Lake, Windsor, also included “the Celebrity Superhero Tri” in which randomly selected superheroes competed in a relay race featuring sports and TV stars including comedian and TV presenter Alex Brooker.

Man wearing a swimming outfitAlex Brooker attends the sporting event (Superhero Series, powered by Marvel/PA)

Mr Brooker told the PA news agency he hoped the event would help people with disabilities feel “inclusive”.

He said: “Sometimes it’s difficult with school sports, having something like the superhero series allows you to meet other people like them in the same situation and have the same limitations.

“For families to come together at such a great event, to get out and get active is just wonderful.”

Man swims with a red bathing cap on his headAlex Brooker swims (Superhero Series, powered by Marvel/PA)

Mr Brooker also said it was important to have representative superheroes, with iconic Marvel characters such as Spiderman and Black Widow attending the event, to unleash their superpowers on attendees.

“Growing up, I liked the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles because they had three fingers like me, so they were my superheroes,” added Mr. Brooker.

Sophia Warner, Paralympian and founder of the Superhero Series, said she wanted to create the “unique” sporting event so that “people with all kinds of disabilities feel like they’re part of a strong community and most importantly, where they can feel safe” I will be part of the majority rather than the minority”.

Woman getting ready to runClare Balding at the event (Superhero Series, powered by Marvel/PA)

Clare Balding, who filmed and hosted the event, told PA that she loved “seeing everyone here dressed up as their favorite Marvel characters”.

She added: “I think it’s really fun. It goes back to that possibility thing again, it takes it from a level of “we will do this” to a level of “we have superpowers” meaning we can excel.

She said that founder Sophia Warner is at the top of her superhero list.

“She’s done a great job with that, and also maintaining the commitment that comes with making sure the communication is out there all the time, and telling people, ‘You can be a part of this,’ and right then, as it started to gain momentum Covid has hit not to lose that momentum completely and I think to be back in a position where it’s bigger than it’s ever been is just crazy,” she added.

Highlights from Superhero Tri from The Superhero Series will air Sunday 4th September at 8.30am on Channel 4.

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