From Addiction to Leader


After years of battling addiction, Connor Shannon is now supporting others on their recovery journey as a Swim Bike Run Leader, though the charity he founded – Addicts to Athletes.

He explains: “After years of self-neglect and troubles with addiction, I started cycling and running, then eventually swimming, and set my goal to complete a sprint triathlon. After taking part in my first one, I loved the event and community so much that I continued to compete in triathlons across Devon and Somerset. It helped me massively and I made it my goal to help others to do the same by enrolling on a Swim Bike Run Leader course.” 

The Swim Bike Run Leader award equips participants with the knowledge, skills and confidence to lead guided swims, bike ride and runs for groups of adults and children. Connor uses his new skill set to support those who are on their own recovery journey.  

“Delivering guided sessions to people who have been suffering with addiction is incredibly rewarding,” he says. “It’s great to see the smiles on their faces during the session. Being outdoors and getting active is amazing for mental health and recovery, and triathlon provides the perfect basis for that. 

“We’re working mostly with beginners of various ages. But almost all of those who take part have suffered with addiction and/or mental health issues. Some of the clients have once been very fit and active, but then have fell into a downward spiral. Our aim is to help them through that with fitness. 

“As a Leader the most enjoyable thing is when a client is feeling great at the end of the session and wants to go out again. It’s great to see they are enjoying being outdoors and getting active. The progress they make over multiple sessions is awesome to see, and nothing is better than helping someone to run their first 5k!” 

As well as helping those who take part, being a Swim Bike Run Leader has had a positive impact on Connor himself.  

He adds: “Being able to lead sessions has helped with my planning and management. It’s also given me the confidence and skills needed to take out larger groups.   

“It’s helped me to be more understanding of people’s problems in life. I’ve learnt how to safely lead and make sessions more engaging for those who take part.” 

It’s had such an impact on Conner that he’s urged others to get involved and complete the course.  

He said: “Go for it! It’s a great sport and the community is fantastic. The support from British Triathlon is brilliant and there’s lots of tools and resources on the learning hub to help you.” 

Click here to learn more about the Swim Bike Run Leader Award and how to get involved. 

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