Nantwich Triathlon Club only formed in September 2020, quickly rising to 100 members within a few weeks of starting via a Facebook group. 18 months on and the club continues to go from strength-to-strength, including a busy programme of activity over the winter months.
“When I moved to Nantwich there was no triathlon club, but it hosted two triathlon events each year and the town also has one of the only natural brine outdoor pools in the country,” commented Paul McIntrye, who is the club founder and Chair of Nantwich Triathlon Club.
“The club first started from a Facebook group to gauge interest because as, with anything you try in life you don’t always know if it will work for the longer term and, with the successive pressures of COVID lockdowns, it was a case of making the most of what was around us and I hoped that others would be interested in being part of a triathlon club and would want to get involved too.”
After receiving funding through a community project scheme offered by a housing developer building a new estate in the town, the club was created. Within its first year, the club designed its own kit, organised bike sessions for beginners and held regular swim, bike, run sessions for the club’s members. Members have also taken on their own challenges including one member qualifying for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Over the winter the club have remained active with the club wanting to maintain their member’s routine through the winter months, especially the social aspect of the club.
“Typically, in winter in the northern hemisphere people will from October onwards will start to take stock of their year and it was no different for us, both as individuals and as a club,” McIntyre reflected. “Lots of people had been through lots of different things, with COVID and other things going on, so, while we took stock in terms of the club’s strategy, we also needed to keep people training and in a way that mixed a diverse ability level in that they were still getting the health benefits in the closed-season but keeping it sociable with the challenges of COVID.
“That’s one of the things we learned in 2021 was that the club’s best sessions occurred when ability level, health benefits and sociable were combined as well as possible because they’re all linked in a way to make a session worthwhile to each individual and to ensure that they’re satisfied and enjoying that session. The more sessions we as a club can design around that then the more successful we become so that thinking has really helped with our planning around our approach to the winter.
“We still wanted to keep a lot of the same sessions on because people get used to the timetable and their own training routine which fits around their lives and the other commitments they have.”
The club’s winter sessions have included sessions in swim, bike, run, along with virtual strength and conditioning twice a week.
“We kept the strength and conditioning on twice a week, but we mixed it up to include one session for glutes and legs, and the other for abs, so people could focus on particular areas,” McIntyre said.
“Then we’ve continued with our other sessions, so we’ve been using a local athletics track for running sessions because its floodlit, we’re not having to run on roads so it’s safer, and we’ve been giving people their own programme but we’re altogether for the session, so it’s got the social element to it.
“We’ve been doing morning swims twice a week to focus on drills and then on Thursday mornings we’ve been doing off-road running which has been a fun and social run and protects the joints due to the soft surface. Saturday’s we’ve stuck to Parkruns or it’s become an adventure day so we’ll go off for runs in the hills or in the woods.
“We’ve had a few group cycle rides and we’ve also started the year with rides for newbies which are traffic free and include a coffee stop so people can talk. If roads have been icy, then we’ve been doing gym-based triathlon where you do 30 to 45 minutes of each of the three disciplines. On your own this might be dull but as a group it is good fun and gets the body accustomed to progressing through the three disciplines.”
Away from training activity, the club has also continued to work on club and athlete development as they work towards their plans and ambitions for 2022.
“We’ve been working on our own club development alongside the sessions we’ve been doing,” McIntyre added. “We’ve completed a first aid course run by British Triathlon and consulted with a local paramedic to build our own bespoke first aid kits and we have them at all our training sessions now to enhance member safety.
“We held our annual training plan seminar to allow our members to plan and decide their training ahead of any events they’ve got coming-up and how to break their season down to try to implement this into club life.
“So overall there was a lot to do but I think we made the most of the winter months and it’s provided a basis and a foundation for what will no doubt be another busy year for the club in 2022 and we hope to make further developments over the next year to get more people into the club and enjoying swim, bike, run.”