EXPOSED: TRIATHLON’S BEST KEPT SECRET
Why have so many triathletes not heard of the Triathlon Trust?
IT’S WORKED miracles in schools and communities across the UK, introducing free triathlon to some 80,000 children, alongside sporting legends like the Brownlee brothers and Lauren Steadman.
So it’s startling that so many triathletes have never heard of the Triathlon Trust, the official charity of British Triathlon.
“The trust really is changing lives, but is still one of the sport’s best kept secrets,” says CEO Mike Jubb, a former GB duathlete.
But hopefully all that is about to change. “To date (since launching three years ago), our small team has been busy delivering high-quality events to thousands of children, but now it’s time for us to spread the word and get the amazing British triathlon community
involved,” says Mike.
“As triathletes we have all experienced the life-changing impact of being fit and healthy. So what better legacy than to pass this on to the next generation?
“We’ve all seen the media reports of childhood obesity and inactivity increasing. What we want to do is use triathlon to reverse that trend – to get kids active and healthier.
“What we’ve found is that kids love doing triathlon. If you said ‘we’re going to run non-stop for half an hour’, they’d look at you like you were mad. But if you say ‘we’re going to swim for a few minutes, then cycle, then run’, they not only embrace and enjoy it, but feel like they’ve achieved more.
“Becoming more active not only improves their health, but develops social skills, increases self-esteem and nurtures good habits, such as commitment, discipline and respect.
“Unlike something like tennis, you don’t need a lot of skill to do it. Swimming, cycling and running are the three most accessible sports for children. Most kids can swim, bike and run at some level and, if not, we can adapt – for example, using flotation devices, scooters, tandems and even space jumps over mini hurdles. It doesn’t have to be the traditional format of triathlon.
Activities have included teaming up with the Brownlee Foundation to inspire youngsters in the Leeds area; offering live sites during the Rio Olympics; mini tri events and setting up a three-year programme of afterschool sports clubs in deprived areas of Dumfries and Galloway.
The Trust has also worked closely with the Katie Henderson Legacy, the charity set up by the family of the talented triathlete, who died in a car crash on her way to race in Ironman 70.3, Staffordshire in summer 2015.
“Like many, Katie’s family didn’t realise what the Trust did. When they did, they said it was exactly what Katie would have wanted. She was all about encouraging young people to lead more active lives. She was a swim teacher, as well as being an inspirational athlete herself.
“All of our events are completely free and include all equipment. People sometimes assume that we’re trying to find the next Alistair Brownlee or turn the children into triathletes. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“We’re just hoping they’ll spend a bit less time in front of a computer screen and lead more active lives. More than 60 per cent of those taking part, who don’t currently do any physical activity, say they’d like to do more, which is exactly what we’re about.
“In the future we’d like to do more follow-on activities to develop those channels.”
However, to deliver even more events to young people, the Trust needs your help. “Triathletes can make a difference. There are lots of ways to get involved, whether making a financial donation, getting sponsored for your next challenge or by volunteering at our events (each event requires 30 volunteers). We could even bring a kids’ tri to your town or school.”
To get involved and show your support visit triathlontrust.org
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