Having seen their membership dwindle through lockdown to less than 60 for the first time, Chippenham Triathlon Club have seen their numbers grow again with an active winter programme helping to keep members engaged.
“We’ve had increased winter training this year,” commented Nikki Capp who is vice-chair of the club. “We’ve got our Zwift club team and the odd winter ride, but I think people have lost the appetite for cold weather cycling of late.
“We do what we call ‘Shandy and Chip Nights’. We’re really fortunate to be quite rural and have some amazing trail runs, so one of the coaches goes out with a small group for little off-road social runs.
“Our weekly coached swim sessions which are all quite drill-specific and they run all the way through the winter so that people don’t stop swimming.”
Off-road trail running has proved a popular activity at the club, with the shandy and chip nights getting consistent attendance through the winter months.
“We do those generally on a Monday night,” Capp explained. “A couple of our members run a tri and running coaching club and they offer to our club members winter hill sessions and winter off-road running sessions and they’re free for any club members.
“People have a real affiliation with getting absolutely caked in mud in the dark and it seems to float a lot of people’s boat.”
Chippenham are a Triathlon England Affiliated Club who have achieved TriMark Club Bronze in recognition of the club having the correct processes and policies in place to cater for children and young people, as well as provide an open and inclusive environment.
“We’ve re-accredited and got the bronze mark and our membership has increased to 120, so we’ve doubled in size.
“We’ve had quite a lot of new members which I was a bit surprised about, but we’ve also had a lot return. We lost a lot of long-term members but our TriStars [children and young people] are also creeping up.
“I think the general profile of triathlon has gone through the roof in the last three or four years really. With the Brownlees, who have done a lot for triathlon, and we have a lot of cyclists coming into the sport.”
As winter starts to give way to spring, Capp and the club are setting their sights on warmer weather and supporting members as they train for the triathlon and multisport event season.
“At the moment we’ve got four people, myself included, going through level one [coaching course],” Capp added. “Then we’re looking to get two of our level ones moved up to level two.
“We’ve got these new coaches being developed so we can do coached bike sessions. In previous years, leading up to the season we’ve done technical bike skills workshops and we’re looking to do those again ahead of the season starting.”