HIP's Race To Victory

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HIP's a Racing Success!

Last Sunday, the HIP team, along with the support of family and friends and HIP's sponsors, Prodo, took on the challenge of Chester's annual Dragon Boat race to raise money for the charity. A mixture of pros and beginners taking to Chester's river Dee in a Viking boat led to much amusement for both onlookers and the racing teams themselves. It was certainly something not to be missed!

The 13th Chester Dragon Boat race took place on Sunday and it was HIP's first time to take part in this. Filling a Viking boat with 16 people and 1 drummer to race down the river Dee may seem easy to some people. With the warnings of the potential of the boat capsizing and the rockiness of the boats as they initially set off, the feat of HIP's race did not however seem entirely simple...The HIP team were the first ones to take to the boats in the competition. Twenty teams were competing, with each team racing in a minimum of three heats. The teams with the best race times would then qualify to compete in the all-important final!

Raring up for their first race, the HIP team made sure to get their team photo before being briefed on safety and the rules of dragon boat racing. After this, the team was introduced to their boat and the filling of the boat with people ensued. Despite the spitting rain, the prospect of holding a paddle for the first time for some individuals, and the sight of the opposition, the HIP team stayed strong and paddled away to the starting line. The Dee riverside accumulated many curious spectators and the HIP supporters were also there to cheer on the team to the finish line. As soon as the race begun, much screaming and fun followed! The HIP team was led by their faithful drummer, who was screaming out numbers and banging on the drum on the boat to keep our paddlers in rhythm, and guide us to victory. The race remained very close and our first opponent, Lifesavers, looked like they could clinch a win at any point along the 200m stretch. Regardless, HIP inched to victory in their first heat with an amazing time of 1 minute and 34 seconds. After the first race, the HIP team came back with a few soggy items of clothing; claims of having not realised how tiring the paddling would be; and of having ingested a few mouthfuls of the river Dee's lovely water, but also with a fire in their eyes to clinch success in the next races, and with exclamations of how fun it was!

Music, various charities' gazebos and food and drink vans were dotted along the riverside and offered everyone the chance to relax before their next races. Two further races followed for HIP and they managed to secure an even better time of 1 minute 24 seconds! Despite this amazing time, the HIP team did not manage to get into the final but still did extremely well considering it was their first attempt at dragon boat racing. The occasional outbreaks of rain and looming grey clouds over the day were not necessarily a crowd pleaser but the grins on the team's faces and the looks of delight on those of the spectators were certainly evidence that the weather had not spoilt anyone's day. Even though HIP may not have come in first place, their regardless success in dragon boat racing and the incredible total of £798 they have managed to fundraise so far for the charity from this event, marks the day as a wonderful achievement for HIP. There likewise needs be no worry that HIP will be back for more fun at the dragon boat festival next year, and to continue the legacy of fun and fundraising of this event!

By Margaret Allan.

HIP in Cheshire
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