Each year, we recognise the people within our sport that give their free time, passion, and energy to developing triathlon within their communities. The work of these wonderful volunteers is invaluable. The majority of sports would not exist without them, and triathlon is no different. Recognising and rewarding the volunteers by way of our workforce awards is one of our ways to say thank you for all the hard work they put in year after year.
In November 2021 the workforce award nominations opened and below is a list of our 2021 award winners.
Volunteer of the year 2021
Mark Edwards – Celtic Triathlon Club
We are delighted to award Mark with our volunteer of the year award 2021. Mark shows huge commitment to his voluntary role at Celtic Triathlon club, he gives hours of his own time each week not only coaching but organising many events for children to participate in. His hard work is greatly appreciated by all of us at Welsh Triathlon, his club members and community. Mark helps in an incredible way by motivating children to participate and always wanting the very best for each of them and making them laugh at every session. Mark spends so much of his own time supporting others, working out what is best for them either to build confidence, or skills to just take part or to compete at high level. Congratulations Mark, you are a credit to your community! - Amy Jenner, Workforce Officer Welsh Triathlon
Inclusivity award 2021
Justin Smith, Merthyr Triathlon Club
Congratulations to Justin Smith, chair of Merthyr Triathlon club for winning our inclusivity award for 2022. Justin has gone to great lengths this year to ensure that club members and anyone within the local community no matter what ability or previous experience has the chance to take part in triathlon and multi-sport activity. Justin’s attitude towards inclusivity has shown great leadership in highlighting just how inclusive triathlon is by adapting sessions and meeting the needs of members. Well done, Justin and thank you for being such a great role model for ensuring that triathlon in Wales is as inclusive as it can be. Steph Makuvise, ED&I Lead - Welsh Triathlon.
Event of the Year 2021
The Snowman Triathlon – Always Aim High
The Always Aim High Events Snowman Triathlon is known as one of the UK’s toughest Triathlons, taking place in the stunning location of Capel Curig with Plas y Brenin National Outdoor Centre used as a venue to host the event. Following an extremely difficult 15 months for the events industry, the Snowman Triathlon was the first event back post-pandemic for Always Aim High Events. With the Snowman Triathlon being the first event back, there was a real focus on keeping competitors safe, Always Aim High Events had to work incredibly hard to adjust to the new regulations that came along with running an event post lockdown. The Snowman encompasses all that is the adventure playground of North Wales offers. The setting of this event is what makes it so unique, with a freshwater swim in Llyn Mymbyr, a bike route that takes in an exceptionally stunning route, and a run route up Moel Siabod which at 872 metres, is the highest peak in the Moelwynion mountain range. New for 2021, competitors finished their race in a new location, with the iconic Snowdon Horseshoe mountain range being the backdrop for that epic finish line shot. The new finish line also provided a great location for the limited number of spectators to gather safely, whilst also having the amenities of Plas Y Brenin very close by. During 15 months of the pandemic when they were unable to run events, the team at Always Aim High Events has spent a lot of time reviewing how they could improve and enhance their environmental initiatives. Before the pandemic hit, they took the order of finisher medals for all 2020 events, as this had been common practice. With them just running the one event in 2020 pre-pandemic, they were left with stocks of these medals. To maintain their high environmental standards and in line with customer feedback they reused these 2020 medals at the 2021 events, including the Snowman Triathlon. Meaning the medals did not go to waste. As a thank you to participants they planted one tree per race entry through their partnership with the Size of Wales Charity. They have also taken the decision to no longer buy medals from abroad, all finishers from 2022 onwards will receive a locally sourced slate memento of their fabulous achievement, which in itself can be reused for example as a coaster. The Snowman was also our first major step towards a cupless event, with participants encouraged to come with their own hydration. At feed stations, they were offered a refill of their own reusable bottles/packs. Where cups had to be used at the finish line for their swim only participants a paper cup option was used. Always Aim High Events Director Nigel 'Kenny' Kendrick has also recently joined the new British Triathlon Sustainability Commission. The key aim of the Commission is to see the sport and physical activity sector built upon sustainable foundations.
Technical Official of the Year 2021
Ellie Preece - National Technical Official
Congratulations to Ellie Preece for being awarded Technical Official of the Year 2021. Ellie is a great ambassador for Officiating in Wales. Ellie is an experienced official who works tirelessly to ensure events run smoothly and are safe for all participants. She became Wales’ first female National Technical Official last year for British Triathlon and officiated at the World Triathlon Series in Leeds. The past year has been challenging for everyone, but to see the positive contributions Ellie has made to the sport and to events has been tremendously uplifting. - Amy Jenner, Workforce Officer
Coach of the Year 2021
Mark Edwards - Celtic Tri Club
Mark is lead coach for the Celtic junior section, Mark works with the clubs other coaches to ensure consistency above the board and plans sessions accordingly. He is a dedicated and passionate about ensuring the children train to the best of their ability and compete when they can. He makes the sessions fun and engaging (pokemon chat is a regular occurrence in zoom bike sessions) During lock down Mark put on a variety of zoom bike sessions and challenges to keep the kids active and training.
Mark inspires each athlete to be the best they can be, he challenges each of them and is always very proud of them all. The club recognises and appreciates the sacrifice Mark makes, sometimes missing out on family time so he can plan and deliver session for the club, Mark works hard to continue to grow and develop his own skills as well as growing the junior section.
Club of the Year 2021
Swansea Vale Triathlon Club
It is with great pleasure to announce Swansea Vale Triathlon club as our club of the year for 2022. From a club that started in 2020 they have grown from strength to strength and have supported their members throughout the pandemic to ensure they can still take part in triathlon in a friendly environment, your hard work in doing so has gone a long way and is greatly appreciated by all of your members who have described the club as fun friendly and inclusive. Not only have they supported their current members but they have welcomed those who are new to the sport and supported their participation in triathlon and multi-sport activity. Congratulations Swansea Vale and We look forward to seeing all of our triathlon clubs (and their club kit colours) out and about at events this year. Steph Makuvise, Participation Officer Welsh Triathlon.
Outstanding Contribuion to Triathlon 2021
Tom Roberts - Continental Technical Official
For over 30 years Tom Roberts has devoted much of his spare time to ensuring that Triathlon is accessible to all, being involved in Triathlon in Wales and has played a proactive role in guiding and developing the sport through the many varied roles he undertakes in his spare time:
• As a qualified Continental Technical Officer, Tom will be found most weekends throughout the Triathlon season as a volunteer officiating at events, from the smallest to the largest, ensuring that rules are adhered to and the health and safety of participants is always at the forefront of our minds. One of his proudest moments was being chosen to work as a Technical Official at the 2012 Olympics in London.
• Over the years, Tom has established strong working relationships with his counterparts in England and Scotland, and provides a Welsh perspective within the wider British Triathlon Federation, sitting on the Rules and Tech committee at British Triathlon and the Welsh Triathlon Rules and Tech sub committee.
• Tom organises and tutors all the Welsh Triathlon Officials courses in his spare time and as a volunteer, and ensures that Welsh Triathlon always have a pipeline of qualified officials who are ready to take this growing sport forward. He supports the Welsh Officials and is always available to resolve any issues no matter how large or small – a bit of a father of officials!
• Last time Tom was seen competing at a Triathlon was a few weeks back at the Amman Valley Triathlon
• Somehow Tom manages to pack all of the above in as well as managing a technician job at Techniquest in Cardiff where he teaches children about science and nature.
• In case he has any spare time, Tom is also know as Wales Rocket Man for his enthusiasm for all things that go vertical and whoosh!