Perham goes gold at European Aquathlon Championships


Chris Perham won gold for Great Britain at the 2022 Europe Triathlon Multisport Championships in Bilbao at the weekend, taking the tape to become European Aquathlon Champion.

Loughborough-based athlete Perham has been a part of the British Triathlon Performance Programme for a number of years, representing Great Britain across various swim, bike, run disciplines at world and European level.

This weekend saw him claim a title that had been a long-term target. Having started off in biathle (run, swim, run), a feeder sport for modern pentathlon, Perham moved into triathlon but has always had an affinity to the swim, run format of aquathlon.

“It’s a great achievement to be able to say I’m a European champion, which is something I’ve always wanted to be able to say,” Perham commented.

“The race itself is one I’ve always wanted to do because I started off mainly as a swimmer and a runner, so to do an aquathlon for Great Britain is one of those races that I always wanted to tick off. This year it happened to be in Bilbao which is where my Spanish team are based.

“They have a league of triathlon races and a league of duathlon races, and I’m part of this team where I go over and race for them. They’re allowed one international athlete on their team, and they’re based in Bilbao. The whole team were there supporting and watching.”

“It was one of those races that I knew I was capable of winning, but due to having injuries and not the best of years with my running it was more of a relief and an achievement that I’d always wanted to achieve.

“I started off doing biathle, which is part of the modern pentathlon pathway. The GB coach for biathle, who worked for the modern pentathlon set up, lived in Weymouth which is where I’m from. I started off as a swimmer in a swimming club in Dorset and then got into running.

“I never did any shooting, fencing or horse-riding [the other disciplines of modern pentathlon], I just did the running and swimming, then after 2010 when I won the World Biathle Champs, I decided I wanted to either move onto modern pentathlon or move onto triathlon because biathle only goes up to World Championships, so I’d hit the top.”

Perham explored triathlon options and made it into the South West Regional Academy, an early stage on the British Triathlon programme. The regional academies in England bring together the best athletes in their region to train and race together throughout the year, feeding into the English national programme at youth and junior level.

One of Perham’s first events as part of the pathway was the British Elite Youth and Junior Aquathlon Championships at Hyde Park in 2012 where he came second. He credits that early race as giving him the drive to want to push on in the pathway, leading him to becoming senior European Aquathlon Champion ten years later.

Aquathlon (swim, run) is one of the multisport disciplines within swim, bike, run alongside duathlon, (run, bike, run), aquabike (swim, bike) and triathlon (swim, bike, run), giving a variety of opportunities to get involved.

“People can come into the sport from different angles. You can come into the sport from a running or swimming background, or aquabike races and duathlon where you can come in from a background of running or cycling,” Perham added.

“It means that you can get access into triathlon in different ways rather than having to be good at all three straightaway. It’s definitely a way of getting people into the sport from different backgrounds and different strengths.”

Domestic events and national championships are delivered throughout the year in the variety of multisport disciplines and distances, with the Great Britain Age-Group Team providing British Triathlon Home Nation members with the opportunity to represent Britain internationally.

You can find events still to come up in 2022 on the event search here and the 2023 Age Group Major Events calendar here.

Photo credit: Europe Triathlon



A post shared by Chris Perham (@pezzatri)

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