This weekend sees the first ever British Triathlon Age-Group Celebration Cup take place at Mallory Park, with members of the team from across the country set to take part.
One of the team taking part is Chris Giles, who has qualified to represent Great Britain at the 2022 Europe Triathlon Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships in Munich.
Giles is a former professional footballer who stopped playing following an injury, turning to swim, bike and run as a way of keeping fit after retiring.
“Somebody introduces you to a bike, then someone introduces you to a pool and before you know it you’re enjoying something a bit different,” Giles commented.
“Never really competitively or anything, just enjoyed the scene. It’s a really nice environment the triathlon world. It’s competitive but actually, really strangely friendly. You’re competing against the same person you’re helping in transition and that always appealed.”
Giles’ first event was in 2012 and he’d done a one or two events per year over the sprint and standard distance until he suffered a head injury having been involved in a bike accident.
“I don’t recall a lot about it,” he said. “Probably eight months, nearly a year of recovering from that, the head impact, and then made a goal to have something to aim for and decided on the GB Age-Group Team because I’d never actually given it a go.
“It’s something to try an aspire to, wearing that kit and representing the nation. It would be a nice thing to aim for, it might not come true, but to get you through your own recovery and fingers crossed it does come true.”
At his second attempt, Giles earned his spot in the team for the European Championships next year in Munich having raced at a qualifying event at Mallory Park.
Looking ahead to Munich next year, Giles has had the chance to get to know a few other members of the team and is ready to get to know more of the team at the Age-Group Celebration Cup.
The event on Sunday is an opportunity for members of the team, both old and new, to come together. Many international Age-Group events have been cancelled or postponed since the start of the pandemic, with this the first opportunity the majority will have had to pull on the GB trisuit since before Covid-19 hit.
Giles is looking forward to being part of the team and exploring the team ethic of an individual sport: “Just to see what others are doing and meet a few people, like mindedness and understand the process and get a feel for what everyone else has already been doing.
Being around that kind of personality for a day or two. Expectation-wise, time-wise, I’m really not too bothered by anything like that. It’s end of season for me and will just be nice to wind down and enjoy the day.
“I’ve already been lucky to meet a few from the previous events, and kept in touch through Strava, Facebook or WhatsApp. I'm probably not alone with missing that group feeling which was missing during lockdowns. For thirteen years and all through your youth of playing team sports, and then after football I was quite often lacking that team camaraderie - events like this reignite that group environment”
You can find out more about Age-Group racing and the Age-Group Team Celebration Cup on the buttons below.