Mersey Tri has become one of the most recognisable clubs in the north west, partly because of their distinctive cyan kits but also because of the community they’ve created since first forming 37 years ago. Established in 1985 by a group of swimmers, cyclists and runners, the club has over 340 members with sessions split across Merseyside to ensure they’re accessible to its members.
“We’ve been coaching for 37 years and we’re all about the community,” Chair of Mersey Tri, Barry Williams said. “We want to bring people together, create that space for people to train together and give people access to swim, bike and run who may not have considered doing it in the past and making it accessible to people.
“It’s a place where people can come together, train together and race together. We’ve got a very strong presence on Merseyside when it comes to triathlon. We have members across all ranges, from complete beginners through to Age-Groupers in all different age groups, and we’ve had athletes who have gone on to be pro triathletes.”
The club hosts weekly run sessions across the boroughs they serve, including in Sefton, Liverpool and the Wirral, along with coached swim sessions twice a week in Sefton and once a week on the Wirral.
There’s also online strength and conditioning for members to join and Zwift sessions for members to keep connected through the winter, while the club bike rides are organised amongst the members.
It’s the community spirit that is at the core of the club that Williams believes makes Mersey Tri stand out.
“I think when a lot of people come to do their first triathlon, they may not be part of a club as a lot of people maybe just do one for a charity or maybe just a challenge for themselves,” Williams commented.
“I think when you go to a race on Merseyside and you see a big group racing and you see them all wearing our club kit, really getting a lot of support from the spectators and from each other, people pick up on that vibe of us being a club that is really supportive to each other.
“Whatever level you are and whether you finish, you are likely to spot someone close by wearing the Mersey Tri kit. Triathlon is quite a solo sport when you’re competing because most of the time you’re racing as individuals, but I think we’ve tapped into the team spirit as everyone is out to look out for each other which I think is the thing I’m most proud about this club.
“There’s so many members that are willing to help each other out, take people to races, share lifts, after you’ve finished members will stay to the end to support the other members crossing the line.”
During the winter months, the club has been competing in the North West Sunday Cross Country League, a league they’ve enjoyed great success in in recent years.
“From November to February that’s when our six local cross-country races are,” Williams added. “We’ve won the North West Cross Country League for the last four years, so for a triathlon club to be competing against local running clubs and winning like that speaks volumes of the club and our members.
“There does seem to be less bike rides taking place over the winter months, but that’s what’s great about Zwift becoming so prominent amongst the community, we’re able to meet up online still. There are still some in-person bike rides but not as many. We see a larger uptake in our swim sessions and our weeknight run sessions are really popular. We get everyone in head torches, we try to get people in bright clothing, and get out and run together. We’ll keep training whatever and that’s the community we’ve created.”
Mersey Tri have launched free bike and run sessions for juniors interested in getting involved in triathlon with the hope of getting more juniors involved in swim, bike, run.
“Our big push at the moment is to try and get our junior section up and running,” Williams said. “During Covid there was a bit of a drop off from juniors as they couldn’t get to the pool or join in with some of the other sessions, so if they were doing anything they were having to do it on their own which wasn’t feasible for a lot of kids.
“Coming out of Covid I think there’s a big appetite for kids wanting to get back into doing some regular fun activities and maybe want to try something new with triathlon, so our big push at the moment is offering free triathlon sessions for juniors, 7-14 year olds, up until April.
“It will be at the weekend for one hour doing bike and run skills with our coaches and activators. So, as well as continuing all of our success in the adult age range, I would like to see more junior members joining too.”