The fourth Challenge for a Smile, a gruelling 12-hour charity triathlon, was held yesterday in aid of the Puttinu Cares Children Cancer Support Group.

About 120 participants cycled a total of 80km, swam for 2.5 km and ran for 16km, starting at 7.30 a.m. and reaching the finishing line by around 7 p.m. Their only break was on the ferry crossing between Malta and Gozo.

A total of €20,000 had been collected by yesterday evening but the money was still being counted.

Started off by three athletes, the event has found its place on the sports and fund-raising calendar, the organisers said.

This year's event was based on a bike ride from Birżebbuġa to Ċirkewwa, a swim from Mġarr in Gozo to Ħondoq ir-Rummien, a run to Rabat and back to Mġarr, a cycle to Mater Dei Hospital and on to Birżebbuġa, where the triathlon set off from.

Donations can also be made by sending an SMS to 5061 7380 for €2.33; 5061 8939 for €6.99; and 5061 9225 for €11.65.

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