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Teen and llama set to blaze a new trail

By Kent and Sussex Courier  |  Posted: November 01, 2013

partners: Max Bloom, 17, of Mayfield with Nicholas before taking part in the first ever tri-llama-thon

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A TEENAGER will set a world first this weekend by competing in a special triathlon – comprising of a run, bike ride and llama trek. Max Bloom, 17, from Mayfield, East Sussex, has organised and will be the only participant in the inaugural tri-llama-thon tomorrow (Saturday).

He will run five kilometres before completing a 90-minute walk with a llama and cycling through London to complete the bizarre challenge.

The Tunbridge Wells Road resident is doing the trial to raise funds for a gap-year trip to Chile to help disadvantaged children.

After planning a fundraising event he decided to do something different and incorporate a South American theme which became the tri-llama-thon.

Max, an A-level student at Cranbrook School, said: "I thought initially of doing a sponsored run or a marathon or a triathlon then I thought of something different.

"So I took the triathalon idea and I wanted to give it a South American twist. I love cycling and I don't mind running and then I thought I would bring in the llama to replace the swimming and it went from there.

" I am most looking forward to walking with the llama and maybe in the future it could become an annual thing that people will do and become a regular fixture. I'm hoping to do it in a poncho and cowboy boots as well although I won't be able to ride or cycle in them.

"I've really wanted to do charity work ever since my uncle went over to Jordan, so I thought during my gap year I would like to do something to help people."

Max will run to the Ashdown Llama Park in the Ashdown Forest and then walking with the animal, famed for spitting, before being transported to London where he will cycle 20km – ending up at the Chilean Embassy in Central London

In a bonus, Max's partner for the second leg is somewhat of a famous face from the animal kingdom.

Nicholas the llama hit the headlines when he correctly predicted the winners of the Champions League and FA Cup finals by picking the correct corresponding balls – although his run came to an end after predicting England would win the 2012 European Championships.

"I went down to see Nicholas the llama with my mum and he was very calm. He is the llama they use for publicity events. He didn't spit at me and I hope doesn't on the day. One of the good reasons for the llama trek is they say it is a quite spiritual experience."

If he raises his total of £5,400, the Project Trust – an educational volunteering charity – will send him off to Chile in September to undertake charity works in some of the poorest regions.

He added: "I'm nervous but it should be a great day."

To sponsor Max visit virginmoneygiving.com/maxbloom

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