Today (8 March) marks International Women’s Day and British Triathlon are celebrating across the swim, bike, run community.
Whether it’s someone who completed their first triathlon to the Olympic gold medal winning pair of Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown, there are so many success stories from across the sport.
There will no doubt be many more to come too and, in a sign of how the sport of triathlon embraces equity, for the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle it will be the female athletes taking the glory anchor leg in the mixed relay after the men had that opportunity in Tokyo.
That was already seen to full effect in 2022 with Taylor-Brown bringing home Team England’s gold medal winning mixed relay team at Birmingham 2022, and Kate Waugh taking the tape as the Great Britain mixed relay team claimed gold at World Triathlon Championship Series Hamburg.
Speaking about the mixed relay, Olympic and Commonwealth gold medallist Taylor-Brown said: “It’s nice to come together as a group, we’ve got such a strong team around us and I think we just thrive off each other’s performances and we’re all just feeding off each other and that’s important.
“It’s nice for us, the girls, to now have the glory leg. It’s nice to have that but also it adds quite a bit of pressure, so for me to have the fourth leg, the final leg, it’s done after that, so I’ve got to do everything perfectly because there’s no time to make up after that, it’s the end.”
On the international stage, British women have consistently been towards the forefront of races, with three Brits finishing last year’s World Triathlon Championship Series rankings in the top-seven.
At the 2023 season opening World Triathlon Championship Series (WTCS) race in Abu Dhabi, it was a British one-two in the women’s race. Beth Potter claimed her first WTCS gold with Sophie Coldwell recording her highest WTCS finishing with a second place finish.
Commenting on her experiences within the mixed relay and the change in order, Coldwell, who was part of the Team England gold medal winning mixed relay team in Birmingham, said: “It’s not just a job, it’s a dream, it’s a passion, it goes more than just something that pays your bills. This is what you’ve trained for, moments like this where you can go and deliver and be part of a team and all of that amalgamates when it comes to relay.
“We’re probably one of the first sports to go ‘I know this is how historically it’s been done but actually we’re going to change it’, and I think to switch the order around with the women now being given the glory leg is really good for the sport and obviously women’s triathlon.”
It’s moments like this which create the images, the moments and the memories that live long in the memory. As does that feeling when completing your own swim, bike, run challenge – whatever that challenge may be.
It might not be for an Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth medal, but it still fills you with that sense of pride and achievement.
Last year this was a feeling both Sue Oates and Jan Oldham had when they combined swim, bike, run for the first time at AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds.
“I’d never really considered doing a triathlon but doing it with people similar to me and in such a supportive group encouraged me to do it,” Oldham said after completing the bike leg on TV presenter and Age-Group triathlete, Louise Minchin’s bike. “It was all really relaxed and friendly, even the safety briefing at the beginning put you at ease.”
Also sharing her experience and from the same Her Spirit group, Oates added: “I’ve wanted to do one for a number of years but there have always been things getting in the way. I started exercising a bit more in lockdown and walking more, so I thought I am going to have to do it now because otherwise I probably wouldn’t do it. It’s such a great event to be a part of, it’s party and festival-like, it’s got a lovely welcoming feel to it.”
Even though this year’s World Triathlon Championship Series event is moving to Sunderland, participation events will again be at the centre of the festival of swim, bike, run.
Taking place on 29-30 July, AJ Bell 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland will take place at Roker Beach and provide opportunities over various distances to take part in swim, bike, run including for anyone wanting to take part for the first time.
To find the distance that’s right for you, check out the entry options here: https://sunderland.triathlon.org/2023.
To find out more about finding an event near you, visit the event search here.