EX­POSED: TRIATHLON’S BEST KEPT SE­CRET

Why have so many triath­letes not heard of the Triathlon Trust?

Triathlon Plus - - Uptospeed -

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

In­spir­ing chil­dren is what it’s all about

In­spir­ing chil­dren in the class­room

You’re never too young to be in­spired

Get­ting ac­tive in schools is key

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