Triathlon training club, SwimBikeRun, was founded just before England’s first national lockdown began, aiming to provide various training sessions throughout the week with the help of local experts.
Rosie Pomeroy is one of five founding members of the club, saying: “SwimBikeRun was founded by five friends keen to develop a new triathlon club whose ethos was encouraging friends to achieve their goals while training for their own.
“Myself, my husband Paul, Carly and Matt Ings and Dave Parry all felt there was a market for this. We really push the social aspect of the club. Making sure people are meeting regularly to train.”
Pomeroy continued: “We are a new club with fresh ideas and a hunger for our members to achieve. We are a group of friends whose ethos is to enjoy training together and encourage each other to smash our goals, either individually or collectively.
“Whether you are new to triathlon or have a wealth of experiences and races under your belt, there’s training available to you. As well as the physical support, we are also a friendly social group of people.”
The springtime lockdown brought many challenges to the newly created club, and Pomeroy spoke of the negative effect it had on her mental health and how being able to get outside and exercise daily helped her throughout the period.
“Whether it was a sea swim in Weymouth Bay, a run along the Jurassic Coast or a bike ride up the unforgiving Dorset hills, we made the most of the beautiful place we call home,” said Pomeroy.
“The opportunity to get out for our daily exercise really helped us all. Like most athletes, lockdown and the cancellation of events came as an additional blow.
“Events we had worked and trained so hard for in the previous winter were being wiped out and cancelled. In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't important, but it was a disappointment to deal with, nevertheless.”
One of the main events that the club had been training towards was the Tenby Long Course Weekend in Pembrokeshire that was scheduled for July. Around ten of the club’s members had signed up for events that weekend over a variety of distances, including many who were preparing for IRONMAN Wales in 2021 by taking on the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run.
“For a few of our team this was to be their first taste of the distance and a steppingstone in preparing for taking on the IRONMAN the following year. Everyone was keen and was training hard. Then Covid-19 hit. Lockdown happened and we all ended up a little deflated,” Pomeroy commented.
“My husband Paul, who’s also a club member, then had the idea that we could host our own version of the event in honour of his birthday at the beginning of September in homage to the event itself. Training continued within our club and we made plans for the logistics of the event. We needed water safety, feed stations and most importantly medals.”
The club created a socially distanced activity that packed their weekend with multisport, Pomeroy said: “Friday evening saw nine people swim either 1.2 miles or 2.4 miles across Weymouth Bay. We then went to the local pizza place and carb loaded for the remaining disciplines.
“Saturday saw eleven people cycling either 56 or 112 miles and Sunday people either ran 10km, a half marathon or a full marathon.”
Family and friends also played their part in supporting the activity, setting up cake stops and feed stations as well as clapping and encouraging those taking part. The club made a huge effort to ensure the safety of those who took part, encouraging social distancing amongst all involved.
“Social distancing was an added challenge, but everyone made a real conscious effort to try and do what they could. Covid-19 has massively impacted the triathlon world and has changed how we all race, but it has also proven to us that with desire and drive anything is possible,” said Pomeroy.
The club members who took part had a great weekend, setting and beating targets as well as getting a small taste for event day despite the current pandemic disrupting activity.
Pomeroy said: “Our team were buzzing after the weekend and it has really given them the drive for new targets and challenges in 2021. Our only hope is that races can resume as quickly as possible in the safest possible way.
“For our club, the lockdown has only strengthened and united us. We maintained in constant contact with members, checking in on them if they were quiet and encouraging each other to get out to exercise and train.
“We are extremely proud of the team we have and of our members. We cannot wait to see them all achieve their goals next year.”