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Checking in with South Shields Tri

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South Shields Tri are taking the lead from their own membership in drawing together winter training plans

The club, founded in 2017, describe themselves as ‘friendly and inclusive’ and have placed a particular emphasis on keeping their members connected through the winter months.

When they asked for a steer from their participants, they were only too happy to share their views.

“You’ve just got to listen to your members,” said Grant Bezuidenhout, Chair of South Shields Tri.

“I think really, a lot of them end up having better ideas than the people who run their club. If you take what they say on board and run with it, it works really well.

“They appreciate if you actually listen to what they say - it works, that's just my opinion.”

The club ran five GO TRI events over the summer as an introduction to the sport with a twist, with October’s edition seeing runners armed with glowsticks.

“It was like a mini rave, it was great,” said Bezuidenhout.

After the last GO TRI event of the year, the feedback came loud and clear - keep the competitive juices flowing. Bezuidenhout and the club are running a series of monthly squat, push up and burpees challenges. A typical workload is 80 squads, 15 push ups and ten burpees in a day.

Those taking part are encouraged to share proof of their quantity and quality of their reps, and also signposted to online resources via social media on how to improve their technique.

“Some folks are very competitive,” says Bezuidenhout.

“People are recording them and putting them on social media, saying ‘your push-up’s no good, mine is better’ and stuff like that. We’re egging each other on, it’s fair to say.”

The key for Bezuidenhout and the club is to imitate the competitive edge brought by in-person training, which he admits brings a different dimension to swim, bike, run.

“When we got back together for the first time, it was like Christmas come early,” Bezuidenhout says.

“It was just different. You weren't just staring at your own four walls. You’re looking at the person next to you and they’re also dying. Then when the option came to try keep people engaged over the winter, our regulars were chomping at the bit.

“People are happy to put themselves to the torch for a month and then go and get the next one. We started during Covid-19 and thought we’d just carry on with it.”

Another example of the club’s competitive instincts was their attempts to help Emma White set a new 5km personal best on the track and go sub-20 for the first time, which she managed, clocking 19:45:87.

A collaborative approach with other clubs in the region has been crucial to the growth and sustainability of South Shields Tri.

The club host running sessions on a Tuesday night at various locations and mixed swim sessions on Wednesdays, with other clubs more than welcome.

“We just invite anyone who wants to join,” Bezuidenhout explains.

“Other clubs from around the area join in with our swims now and then, it’s the club rides then at the weekends. We want to be as inclusive as possible and help people in the north east get into the sport.”

 

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