Jenson Button put in a superb performance in the weekend’s London Triathlon, recording a time that was a personal best and in the range of the elite athletes taking part, as well as raising £17,000 for his chosen charity.
Button has been spending his Formula One summer break training for and then competing in Sunday’s event in order to raise money for Make-A-Wish Foundation, a charity that aims to support youngsters with life-threatening illnesses.
His first full competitive triathlon was the Royal Windsor event held last August, a step up from the mini triathlons he had previously completed as part of his F1 training.
The event involves timed running, swimming and cycling events with competitors aiming to make the transition between each stage in the briefest possible time. Learn more here.
Not satisfied with competing himself, he has also talked Brawn GP engineers Andrew Shovlin and Peter Bonnington into taking part alongside him.
According to Button’s website, his London Triathlon class was the Olympic-distance event which included a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and, lastly, a 10km run.
He says that he set himself the challenge of finishing in the top ten per cent of competitors at the event and was delighted to set a personal best time, raising £17,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation as he did so.
He came second in his group, the Olympic men’s 25-29 age group, with a time of 2hrs 07:02. To give some idea of how well he did the range of times for the elite event, a class usually entered by national and international athletes, was between 1hr 44:29 and 2hrs 13:15.
Peter Bonnington completed the sprint event in a time of 1hr 18:14 and Andrew Shovlin in a time of 1hr 19:15.
Button said: “I had to wake up at 4.45am to get here this morning and I loved it. It’s been my best ever Sunday morning! The London Triathlon is such an amazing event and it’s great that triathlon is doing so well in the UK.
“Along with my engineers Shov and Bono who took part in the sprint event on Saturday, we’ve trained so hard for this and I’m delighted to have achieved a personal best time. It’s a real physical challenge to prepare yourself for the three different disciplines in triathlon.
“F1 drivers are pretty fit anyway but triathlon requires a lot of specialist training. I pushed myself to the limit and it’s so different to driving a car because my heart beat is a lot higher when I’m running and swimmÄ±ng.
“It’s great to do this because it shows how much the drivers have to train and that we don’t just sit there and turn the wheel! Raising so much money for Make-A-Wish Foundation, the charity which I am a patron of, makes me incredibly proud and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who sponsored me.
“Your money really will make a difference to so many children.”