American dream for sporting Bridgnorth youngsters
Five youngsters from Bridgnorth are currently across the pond – gunning for glory at the World Biathle Championships in Florida.
Siblings Kody, Zoe and Charlotte Gilbody – competing in the under-11, under-15 and under-17 categories respectively – will be joined by Dan Galloway, under-17s, and Jack Cole, under-19s, at the prestigious event, representing Great Britain.
Zoe goes into it having won the European Championships earlier this year, and proud mother Gayle Gilbody said: "It's their first time at a world championships.
"My daughters have done the Europeans before, with Zoe winning that earlier this year, in June, in Portugal.
"My children compete with Wrekin Triathlon Club for their swimming, and run with me.
"They also part of a London-based club called Chilton Harriers and, since the start of the year, they have been supported by Mike Harvey at NGR in Coalbrookdale who does weekly youth strength and conditioning sessions with them,
"They've all been putting a lot of effort and dedication in with their training, so they are ready and we're hoping they do really well."
Kody goes to Castlefields Primary School while Zoe and Charlotte attend Bridgnorth Endowed Girls' School –and mother Gayle has a background in running.
Galloway – a former European silver medallist – is a pupil at Oldbury Wells, and Cole – who has competed at the world championships before – goes to King Edward College in Stourbridge.
The group are part of around 30 representing GB from under-11 through to masters.
"I've run with Bridgnorth Athletics Club since I was 10, and they all joined at similar ages, and been a part of the swimming club since they were five," said Gayle.
"The other two boys, Dan and Jack, swim with Northgate Swimming Club and run with Telford Athletics Club.
"Kody's only been doing running for a year – a lot of athletics clubs don't let you join until you're nine – and swimming for three.
"It's amazing to have all three of them go. It feels really special. It's not all the time this happens, of course."
Biathle is a continuous run-swim-run competition. It consists of a pack start followed by a run, a swim before a final run to the finish line.
Zoe and Kody, and Galloway and Cole are part of a mixed relay within their age groups on Thursday.
They will then all compete in individual events, as will Charlotte, on Sunday.