Based in Kentish Town, North London, The Mornington Chasers are a sociable running club with a growing triathlon section.
How did it all start?
The Mornington Chasers Running Club was founded in December 1986. Our first triathlon outing was August 2008 - The London Triathlon- where founder triathlete member, Neil Pollock and Simon Freeman borrowed the club’s female vests to wear for the snug fit. Triathlon at the club had launched and was further fuelled in September 2008 when we entered three teams in the 'Pondathon' on Hampstead Heath Our first team came third and it’s an event we have participated in ever since. The following spring with new, specially designed kit, we entered a team in the London League event the Thames Turbo Sprint followed by the Morden 6'n'6. Individually members have regularly participated in triathlons, aquathlons and duathlons since, with team participation ebbing and flowing with the transient nature of a small, central London club.
And how's it grown from there?
Due to our location our membership churn is high but over the last couple of years the interest and participation in triathlon amongst our members has grown. The initial burst of enthusiasm dissipated as members moved out of central London (only one out of the original group remains) but a few hardy members continued to successfully compete in club colours and kept the flag flying. By the end of the 2015 season five additional members will have completed their first triathlons and two of them were non-swimmers a year ago. The core of our triathletes are dedicated and encouraging to new members.
How many members?
The whole club has around 200, the number who take part in multi-sport is between 10 and 20.
The current club colours are green and orange on white. However, we are currently looking to revert to the original club colours of turquoise blue and orange and plan to have new kit in place for next season.
What training sessions are on the menu?
Tuesday and Thursday nights are run nights with coached sessions available at both. Cycle training is more informal and usually includes a weekly hill session, Swains Lane reps on Wednesdays and long rides at the weekend. Swim sessions are also informal with members belonging to different pools in the area and at different stages with their swimming. Through our Facebook page, members arrange group swims for open water swimming, to West Reservoir for example.
If you organise club cycles, what’s your riding territory?
Regent's Park is popular for practice sessions, which are organised on an ad hoc basis and long rides go out to Hertfordshire or South through Surrey or Kent.
Do you have any sponsors or partnerships?
From October through to March each year the club has a 10K race in Regent's Park called the Mornington Chasers Regent's Park Winter Series - this is a long established event and the main source of income for the club. Originally run completely by us, it is now race directed and organised by Nice Work and we provide the branding and marshals.
Tell us about any key races or events you target as a club?
The London League events are the key races that we push, publicise and include on our events listings. The Velopark Duathlons are also well publicised, have proven to be popular and provide a great, supportive atmosphere for both our experienced and novice members. Several of our women members have only just completed their first multi-sport event- they chose to do the Blenheim Triathlon. Our location close to West Reservoir has proven popular for members new to open water swimming.
Mornington Chasers at a 'pondathon' in 2009
What sets your club apart from other triathlon clubs in the area?
Our club is known for being incredibly friendly. The triathlon section has evolved from the running club and rather than see members leave for other triathlon clubs (which has happened in the past) we've worked hard to encourage them to stay and help develop the multi-sport side. We are located in a fantastic area for training - lots of hills for running with Hampstead Heath, a choice of indoor, outdoor and open water swimming places all within easy distance and cycle rides out to the countryside within five miles.
Tell us a funny story about your club/club members?
With a transition time of over four minutes in a pool based aquathlon, our team were amused to learn that one of our fastest runners had carefully towelled down and dried between his toes before putting on socks and shoes for the trail based run!
Any club heroes?
All our members are heroes! Each one of them has achieved something remarkable, from learning to swim to taking the first bike ride up Swains Lane. Two of our members helped Hannah McQuarrie learn to swim and this year she successfully completed the Crystal Palace Triathlon and then the open water Blenheim Triathlon. Lucy Francis was our first and so far only woman 'Ironman' having taken part all over the world including Hawaii. Andrea Sanders-Reece has twice won the Triathlon London League individual cup for her age-group (2013 and 2014) and won her AG in the Sprint Duathlon in Clumber Park this year so is representing GB in Adelaide in October.
Does the club have a Twitter handle / Facebook Page or website?
Our website is chaser.me.uk and we tweet @chasersldn.
What's THE club social event of the year?
The Christmas Party and the post London Marathon party. Plus we have regular pub nights.
If you had to give one piece of training advice to new members what would it be?
Annual membership fee?