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Club Focus: Clapham Chasers

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Clapham Chasers are an ambitious and sociable running and triathlon club based in South London with training sessions for all abilities.

How did it all start?
In November 2005 a group of local runners decided to meet every Monday for a run. They started planning races and other runs together and eventually the “Clapham Chasers” team name was born. Once the club kit was ordered and the website was up and running, there was no stopping the growth of the club. What started as a running club has now grown into a large and exciting running and triathlon club. In recent years, our members have also branched out into other areas including: ultra/ trail running, cycle time trials, open water/ cold water swimming, swim/ runs and other unusual and exciting challenges.

And how’s it grown from there?
We now have over 800 members and a home at the Trinity Fields Clubhouse in Wandsworth. We have a wide range of coached and led running sessions, cycles, swims and tri-specific sessions throughout the week in and around Clapham and we target specific races as a team.

 

Club colours?
Our colours are green, blue and white.

What training sessions are on the menu?
Off the back of some great and varied run sessions, we now offer a wide range of run, bike, swim and triathlon specific sessions:

  • We offer 5 run sessions per week (1 social run, 1 track run, 1 tempo run, 1 interval run and 1 long weekend run during marathon season)
  • 4 swims per week (2 morning sessions, 1 evening session and a weekend open water session during the summer)
  • 3 cycles per week (1 summer interval sessions/ winter spin, 1 weekend club ride and monthly introduction club ride)
  • We also run monthly brick sessions and transition sessions in the summer season as well.
  • Many members also organise informal swim, run and bike sessions throughout the week via our club members’ Facebook page.

 

What is your typical riding territory?
We organise a weekly group ride on Saturdays. These alternate between some fantastic routes in the Surrey Hills and in Kent, typically around 80-100k in distance with anything from 700m - 1.3k of climbing - so usually fairly hilly and scenic! On occasion we mix things up by heading out to Windsor or Brighton. We also run a weekly intervals session in Richmond Park in the summer months (replaced by a spin class in winter). For novice cyclists, our introductory rides usually start in Richmond Park and head out to Esher or Chertsey. These are no more than 50k in distance, fairly flat and focus on group riding skills.

Does the club have any sponsors or partnerships?
Yes, we have a headline sponsor Yellow Jersey and a few product partners:
Body Logic (Physio/Massage) 
Embrace Sports (Training Camps) 
Jo Scott-Dalgleish (Nutrition) 
Virgin Active (Gym)
Plus numerous discount partners.

Do you host any events? 
This year we are hosting our first duathlon event- as part of Triathlon England’s Olympic Velopark series- the women’s duathlon on the 15th November. Come along to hear the very loud support of Clapham Chasers! Next year, we will be hosting our very first Olympic distance triathlon, which will be part of the London League. We have partnered with Tri Project at Thorpe Park and can't wait to bring this event to London's clubs.  The event will be on 17th July 2016 and is going to be loads of fun, with the run course going through the Theme Park. Entries will be opening in Autumn - watch this space!

Tell us about any key races or events you target as a club?
We have a very wide range of athletes within the club- from sprint distance up to ironman distance. As a club we target the London League race calendar which is a great selection of local races which appeal to everyone of all level. We have had a great turn out in 2015 and hope to be up there in the league. We also target the main big races of the season in the UK (London, Windsor, Blenheim etc) and abroad. For long distance, Lisbon half ironman has become a regular fixture and usually a specific Ironman race, this year was Frankfurt. We also have an impressively large age-group team who have qualified for the following age-group champs:

  • 5 Chasers raced at the European age-group champs in Geneva this year
  • A whopping 18 Chasers are currently in Chicago for the age-group world champs in aquathlon, sprint and Olympic distance
  • 2 Chasers qualified for the 70.3 world champs
  • 2 Chasers qualified for the European duathlon champs
  • We also have 4 x iron-Chasers heading to Kona 2015 and 1 x Kona 2016!

 

What sets your club apart from other triathlon clubs in the area?
Our ethos is that Clapham Chasers is an Ambitious, Sociable and Inclusive club. We pride ourselves on being very welcoming to all- anyone with very little or a lot of experience will find great sessions and great people to train with. If you are new to triathlon and need guidance with everything and anything you can join our novice triathlon programme which runs every spring. At the other end of the spectrum, if you are aiming to qualify for GB age-group champs or Kona, you will find a lot of other experienced and inspirational members who are also going after the same goal who will help to motivate and support you. We have a number of coaches who run our sessions or are members themselves so formal training sessions and training plans are easily accessible as well.

Any club heroes?
Many! Every year our members triumph in races nationally and internationally:

  • Lucie Custance - is a top age-grouper in short distance and is currently dominating the long distance circuit
  • Adam Marcinowicz - one of our nutty members who as well as acing marathons and ironman distance, he also likes to push himself in unusual ways like running 145 miles along the canal from Birmingham to London or cycling then running 50 miles around Greater London taking selfies with Paddington Bear!
  • Hamish Cropper and Alan Scott- top long distance triathletes and dominating the swim/ run circuit at the moment – winning the Breca Buttermere swim/ run 2015 and coming 6th internationally in last year’s Otillo swim run.

Does the club have any famous past members?

  • Justina Heslop is an international Long Distance Runner who has represented England in cross country and road running events since 2009. Justina specialises in both 10km and half marathon disciplines. 
  • Tobias Mews is our famous action-man Clapham Chaser - adventure athlete, journalist, filmmaker and speaker. 

Does the club have a Twitter handle / Facebook Page or website?
Website: http://www.claphamchasers.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ClaphamChasers

Whats THE club social event of the year?
Clapham Chasers are a sociable bunch and we ‘refresh’ ourselves locally most weekends after races and training sessions. Every November we celebrate the anniversary of when the club was formed- a brilliant evening of awards for the best performing athletes of the year, food, drink and fun. We also have a sizeable Christmas Party with a sit-down meal and a night of dancing in our local cheesy nightclub. This year’s anniversary party is special as we will be celebrating 10 years since the club was founded!

If you had to give one piece of training advice to new members what would it be?
You are more likely to get out of bed, push yourself and get those PB’s if you surround yourself with people who support and motivate you- so set your alarm, decide a meeting point with your club mate and enjoy your training!

 

Annual membership fee:
£20 Unaffiliated
£32 Affiliated to England Athletics ... bargain!

Interview by Lucy Edwards from Havering Triathlon Club. You can follow her on Twitter @paddlepedalpace or her blog at www.paddlepedalpace.co.uk

 

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