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Bringing swim, bike, run to Redcar and beyond


Redcar Triathlon Club was set-up with the intention of bringing swim, bike, run to the heart of the community in Redcar. Since forming five years ago, their reach has extended way beyond the seaside town and this year they have the addition of hosting their own triathlon event.

Prior to the pandemic the club had around 40 members; a figure which more than doubled last year including members joining the club’s community from elsewhere in the UK and even further afield.

“It’s a developing club,” Andy Petford, Chair of Redcar Triathlon Club, said. “We’ve got this really, open transparent, clear idea of the club. It’s about everybody knowing everybody. We don’t want people to come along to the club and not feel part of that because they don’t really know anybody.

“We’ve got members from beyond Redcar. We have a lady who is an active member, but she lives in Spain so when she comes over she comes to the club and joins in. We’ve got members in Cambridge, and we have a lot of guys who work offshore so they will have three weeks with us and then they’re away for three weeks.

“We get a lot of people who work away, we’ve got a few people serving in the Army including a couple in Cyprus, and they keep in touch with us and join us for social rides on Zwift while they’re there when they can. Then when they come home or a rebased somewhere near, they come and join the club and take part.

“Whatever your motivations, whatever your ability, we want everyone to feel welcome at the club. There’s no pressure, everyone can take it at their own pace, but we’ll encourage you all the way. It's about maintaining that link with people and making sure everyone is aware of what’s going on.”

The club ensures there’s something for everyone to get involved with including weekly coached swim and run training, as well as social bike rides and plans for coached bike sessions to follow later this year.

Over the past couple of years, the club has found ways to keep the club’s members engaged, even entering teams into an ultra-marathon as an end of season treat.

“Our target was to hit 50 members and we surpassed that hugely in 2021,” Petford added. “We got up to over 80 members but during COVID there were obviously no races on, so people’s motivation was dwindling a little bit. I put on various challenges, at first expecting to do one and then we would be back in-person again, but obviously that wasn’t the case and they became a regular thing over the last two years.

“I would put an interval session on the Facebook group once a week and we would run a six-week challenge and everyone would go out week one, do a mile as fast as they could running. Then they would incorporate the interval training over the six week period and at the end of the six weeks they would do another mile as fast as they could and see if there was any difference and whoever made the biggest improvement got a prize.

“We did a distance challenge, so members had to cover a certain distance biking and running in a month. It got people training, it got people motivated to do things and there was interaction on social media, so it kept the members engaged and interested until we were able to get back.

“We try and do a lot of different things. We’re a group of people who all like to do things. We will have a social and put on end of season challenges. Last year we entered four teams into an ultra-marathon from Guisborough to Filey along the Cleveland Way. We did it as an end of season challenge to do something a little bit different.”

Redcar Triathlon Club will also be hosting their first ever triathlon event later this year having taken on the organisation of Ellerton Standard Triathlon, which will return in June 2022.

“The biggest reason for the way the club has developed has been the committee being focused and the members being focused,” Petford commented. “The goal for this year is running the triathlon, making it successful, maintaining what we achieved last year in terms of making sure we keep that membership up as best as we can while keeping costs down for members.

“So that’s the focus as well as getting a few more people trained up so we can deliver more coached training sessions for people.”

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