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Friendly competition between club members over winter


There has been friendly competition throughout the winter at Hillingdon Triathletes with the London-based club finding ways to ensure members of all abilities could keep up their swim, bike, run training while further strengthening the club community.

Alongside the club’s usual training sessions, the winter months have seen many of the club’s members come together to take part in relays and challenges that the club’s coaches and committee have set-up.

“We got back into the swing of things at the end of last year with all of our training, and now we’re back full strength,” Jacqui Burke, Chair of Hillingdon Triathletes, said.


“We have multiple swim and run sessions each week and also a bike ride on a Sunday. Over the winter we wanted to make sure everyone was ticking along still maintaining their fitness over the winter, because you’re building the foundation in the winter. But we also saw it as a good opportunity to get everyone together and hopefully have some fun with the training ideas.”


This included swim and run relays, a chance for the whole club to come together for training with an added competitive and social aspect.


“Prior to Christmas, we arranged with the help of our coaches a Christmas relay swimming session. Each swimmer would swim their length, hand an inflatable baton over, and then the next person would dive in,” Burke commented.


“We had eight lanes, including teams of mixed abilities in each lane so some people who would usually swim in the beginners’ lane were chatting away to some of the people who would usually swim in our fast lane, so it got people chatting more with people they may not usually speak to which really brought out the team spirit.


“Then the following week we arranged a team relay at our running session where we combined our three running session into one big group and matched the faster runners with the slower runners at the club. We had the slower runners run a 600m loop and the faster around a 1km loop. They had to do it three times, with the changeover where everyone could see which team was in the lead.


“Then, on the very last loop, both runners in each team had to run together at the slowest runners’ pace and it was fantastic to see each runner encouraging each other. Again, it allowed members to talk to others who they would not normally train with.”


The friendly competition between the club’s members has continued including the creation of a club leaderboard and specific swim and run time-trials.


“We decided to do our own club super league, again putting mixed abilities in groups, where they earn points throughout the year by racing, podium positions, volunteering, similar to the old school houses to encourage people to enter our races and volunteer at events because we’re always desperate to get volunteers,” Burke added.


“There are over 80 members signed-up already and it’s friendly competition between members to engage in more of our races or if they’re unable to race then to help out at volunteering.


“Since the new year we have also started back with our 400m swim time-trial and the 5km time-trial Parkrun challenge. The first Monday of every month we do swim time-trials, and then we put it out to the club so they can see their times. Then there’s that friendly competition of ‘I’m only two seconds behind you’, so again it encourages that competition.


“We do something similar with the first Parkrun of each month, which is something we started during the lockdowns where you could do 5k at any time of the day on the Saturday or Sunday and then you record your time with all the times shared with the club. Now the Parkrun is back, we have both options of going to do the Parkrun on the Saturday or completing your own 5k across the weekend and the leaderboard is again shared.”

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