Ironmen Do It Themselves for £1,500

On 10th December, four adventurers took to the desert of Dubai to take part in one of the most challenging Ironman tournaments in the world.

With a 3.8km swim followed by a 180km bike and then a 42km run, the unofficial ‘DIY Ironman’ is an incredible test of endurance in the unbelievable heat of the UAE.

Many thanks to Pascale, Wouter, Anne and Louise for their incredible effort, which raised nearly £1500 for United Through Sport.

Soup Book Released

For their 2008 Christmas campaign, United Through Sport has produced a unique soup recipe book to support the South Africa School of Sporting Excellence in building a soup kitchen to feed all their students.

The aims of the school are to not only enhance sporting levels in football, netball and rugby but also to offer a fully rounded education to increase the choices available to these talented yet disadvantaged children. Students are given the kind of attention and education that is hard to achieve in a regular school, as well as additional life skills training in subjects such as HIV/AIDS awareness, alcohol and drug abuse and career guidance.

To support this great cause in South Africa, please buy a book! Even if you don’t like soup, these books make a great Christmas stocking filler for friends and family.

To buy a book, go to and follow the instructions.

Phil Races 370km for United Through Sport

This year, Phil Hatzis ran, swam and cycled his way to 370km and nearly £1,200 for United Through Sport. The challenge involves completing a series of grueling sporting events starting with The London Marathon in April and culminating in the famous Ironman UK in September.

A first year engineer at Durham University, Phil has only recently taken up triathlons but was determined to rise to the challenge. “I have always enjoyed my sport; mainly rugby and tennis when I was younger through to cross-country running and triathlon now.”

The Ironman UK is a triathlon race and consists of a 2.4 mile open-water swim, 112 mile cycle and finishes with a marathon run of 26.2 miles. The time limit is 17 hours.

“Having been accepted in all these races through the ballots, I realised it was a great opportunity to raise a lot of money for charity. I chose to fundraise for United Through Sport as I have been to Africa and South America where I have seen children happily playing sport with whatever they could find. Sport has always been a large part of my life and I relish the opportunity to share my enjoyment of it through benefiting the lives of these children.”

Follow him on twitter here:

Swaziland Welcomes United Through Sport

Last month our Director, Sam Eve, headed south to see how rugby is making a big impact on the lives of young people in Swaziland as they struggle to come to terms with a worrying HIV/AIDS epidemic that now infects more than 1 in 3 of the country’s population. Read Sam’s Report below:

One thing that struck me about Swaziland was just how lush, green and beautiful the country was. The people also seemed so much happier and less stressed in contrast to those living in the dirty and overcrowded townships of Port Elizabeth from where I’d just come.

However behind the beauty and the smiles hides a much sadder truth. The truth that 1 in 3 of the population are dying of AIDS. Swaziland has now surpassessed Botswana as the country with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world. A staggering 39% of the population are infected with the disease and many don’t even know they are infected. Those that do know often cannot afford the treatment or know where to get it from. Those that don’t know continue to infect others. Cultural ‘norms’ in the country further accentuate the problem. Each year the King of Swaziland takes a new wife. Some men with HIV/AIDS still believe that sleeping with a virgin will cure them. Incest and domestic violence are common place. As a result, women are very much seen as second rate citizens and so the cycle of poverty continues. For young Swazi’s growing up under this black cloud, the future is bleak.

That is why United Through Sport are working with a local grassroots partner called SKRUM who are using rugby to tackle the increasing HIV/AIDS epidemic and promote greater gender equality to young people throughout Swaziland.

SKRUM works by training up to 2 teachers in every primary and secondary school to become rugby coaches. These teachers are given all the coaching resources they need such as training manuals, balls and pumps to help them establish the sport within the school. The teachers are then given information provided by NERCHA (the National Emergency Response Council for HIV/AIDS) and SWAGGA (a charity dedicated to tackling domestic violence against women and children) and guidance from SKRUM on how to deliver this information to their students informally through the game of rugby and off the pitch. Rugby simply provides the vehicle in which to deliver this information as well as an opportunity to develop important life skills in the children such as teamwork, sportsmanship, fitness and self-esteem. The physicality of the game also works in challenging the tradional role of women in Swazi society and works towards breaking down the stereotypes that currently exist.

In my visit to Swaziland I was hugely impressed by the dedication of the SKRUM team and how quickly they have moved the project forward in only a few months. Whilst only in their first year, SKRUM has received interest from over 90 schools keen to adopt the programme. Sport is a major motivator for children to attend school and as such Head Teachers are keen to add rugby to the curriculum.

As more and more schools come on board, it will be possible to develop a schools rugby league bringing the community closer together and re-enforcing the positive values of SKRUM.

Sheffield College Partnership Success

First year students studying for their Foundation Degree in Sports, Coaching and Exercise had a real workout when their course tutor, David Harrison, suggested partnering with United Through Sport to raise money for charity as part of their Event Organisation module.

However the students rose to the challenge as usual and, working in groups of four, set about planning, organising and hosting a series of exciting fundraising events to benefit our charity. The events ranged from race nights to Christmas parties. The top fundraisers in the year group were Mike Staley and Samantha Fowler who raised a total of £266.64 between them. Adrian Abdulla, a lecturer at the College and an impressive 4th Degree Black Belt in Kickboxing, organised a massive Kickboxing Tournament at The Octagon Centre in Sheffield to further add to the students fundraising efforts.

In 2007, Sheffield College students and staff raised a staggering £819.14 towards United Through Sport! The official cheque was presented to Sam Eve of United Through Sport at Sheffield College on 23rd January. Thanks must go to all those who not only organised the events but also to those who supported them.

Following this great success, Sheffield College has agreed to continue the charity partnership into 2008 with the new first years hoping to beat the impressive fundraising target set by last years students. We wish them all the very best!