Jenni Falconer

Falconer answers Thomas’ triathlon call for HIV campaign

Television personality Jenni Falconer had no doubts about answering the call from legendary former rugby international Gareth Thomas to help raise awareness for his Tackle HIV charity.

Falconer took on a 10-kilometre run alongside Thomas as part of a triathlon relay team that took on the Royal Windsor Triathlon.

The Smooth Radio presenter teamed up with a host of other HIV campaigners on the banks of the Thames to help tackle the stigma that surrounds the virus.

In late 2019, Thomas announced to the world that he was HIV positive and chose to do so whilst competing in a 140-mile Ironman triathlon.

Now, over 4 years later, Thomas led a team from his Tackle HIV campaign to undertake the Royal Windsor Triathlon to raise awareness and understanding about HIV.

Thomas competed in the full Olympic distance triathlon by swimming 1,500m, cycling 40km and running 10k to demonstrate that living with HIV need not be a barrier to achieving anything, and to celebrate how far science and medicine have come in the last few decades.

“A little while ago, I got a call from Gareth asking me if I would be part of his team here to raise awareness for Tackle HIV,” Falconer said.

“I just think it’s important to spread the word, spread the message so that everybody realises that it doesn’t stop you doing amazing stuff like a triathlon. It is possible. 

“If you are someone living with HIV, you can take part, there is no reason why you couldn’t. It is a no-brainer.”

Since Thomas disclosed his positive status in 2019, the 100-cap rugby union international has campaigned tirelessly to improve the public’s knowledge of the virus.

Completing an IRONMAN in 2019, Thomas has also run the Royal Parks Half Marathon, the Cardiff Half Marathon and last year took on the 3 Peaks Challenge.

Set up by Thomas and ViiV Healthcare, with support from the Terrence Higgins Trust, Tackle HIV hope that through tackling the stigma surrounding HIV can make a difference to people living with and affected by the virus.

Already Tackle HIV have smashed through their fundraising goal of £2030, a target which was set in line with the UNAIDS goal of ending new cases of HIV in the UK by 2030.

Taking on the Olympic distance event, Thomas was well supported around the course in Berkshire, and was joined by former Olympic sprinter Perri Shakes-Drayton and fellow HIV awareness campaigner, Becky Mitchell MBE, in addition to Falconer.

“There is so many amazing charities being supported today and there is so many brilliant causes,” Falconer said.

“One of the great things about Tackle HIV is that taking part, we are showing that you can do anything. 

“Just because you are living with HIV, it does not mean there is a limit on what your abilities are. 

“There are amazing, groundbreaking medicines out there that mean that your life really doesn’t have to be any different. 

“Unfortunately in the past there has been stigma and misunderstanding about what living with HIV means, but actually it doesn’t mean that you are different to anyone else.”

Gareth Thomas and six Tackle HIV relay teams are undertaking the Royal Windsor Triathlon to demonstrate that living with HIV need not be a barrier to achieving anything, and to raise funds for Terrence Higgins Trust. Tackle HIV is a campaign led by Gareth Thomas in partnership with ViiV Healthcare and Terrence Higgins Trust and aims to tackle the stigma and misunderstanding around HIV. For more information visit and follow @tacklehiv

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