The clubs’ current membership is 110 and comprises 30% females, having gained seven new female members in recent months. These members span all ages and stages of life from students/recent graduates, mum's juggling training, working and family life, those in full-time roles and those transitioning from work to retirement.
When I asked the female members of Tri-Force Triathlon Club for their goal for 2022 I was bowled over by the range of responses I got. The first - responding just three minutes later - was to complete their first ever triathlon. This was from a member who joined just a few weeks ago. Well if her sprint triathlon time this year is as speedy as her response time, she’ll be winning her first triathlon too!
The second response was to qualify for European and World Championships sprint distance. Another to complete Club La Santa without dying...others to enjoy some long distance open water swimming events (four ladies from the club completed a relay swim of the channel in 2021). Then there were a few - myself included - training for their first/second Ironman this year.
What was common to all responses was that the ladies were part of Tri-Force for the friendship, motivation and support that training together offers. “Having a great bunch of people to go out training with but also to steal some knowledge from is invaluable”.
The club supports a ladies WhatsApp group where a healthy mix of topics are discussed from training and racing to cake! This group also gives the female members of the club the confidence to arrange meet ups such as bike rides, runs and swims, especially those who find it easier to fit their training in during weekday daytimes. It’s a forum where specific needs can be addressed too, like the need for more confidence in bike handling. Once the need was identified our Head Coach - assisted by an accomplished female cyclist - designed and delivered a session specifically for the ladies in the club who wanted to build confidence in this area.
This month the ladies are holding a hair braiding workshop as a social and at the end of last season they gathered for afternoon tea and bubbles to celebrate all the achievements - big and small - of the year. Those achievements were as diverse as completing their first sprint triathlon, swimming the channel, stepping up to their first middle or long distance event and winning their age group at Ironman 70.3 Weymouth.
Last year the club also ran its first Try a Tri event open to both men and women with the aim of introducing more people to the sport. The day included coached swim, bike and run sessions and culminated in a training plan and entry to a sprint Tri in September. The club is keen to encourage participation and ensure triathlon is accessible to all and an active committee including three female members facilitates this.
And, my favourite response from one female member that Tri-Force has “introduced me to some awesome (mostly female!) role models.”