The disruption to activity that the sport has faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic has seen many clubs getting creative with keeping their members engaged and enjoying multisport throughout the difficult period.
At Tri Energy, scavenger hunts, baking competitions and fancy-dress marathons were just the beginning.
“Lockdown for us was brilliant, we started a thing called ‘trisolation’ where we put people into teams and did turbo sessions and strength and conditioning on Zoom and little running challenges,” said club founder, Sam Anderson.
“Teams were awarded points based on however many activities they took part in and then we showed the score every week. It was amazing, the way people pulled together, got behind it and encouraged each other.”
The club hosted a variety of activities, both virtual and out on the streets, including duathlon challenges, a club bake-off, and quiz nights. One fancy dress activity caught the eye of many in the surrounding areas.
“We had about 70 people running around our local streets at their own time taking part in a half marathon dressed as Batman,” said Anderson.
“We called it the ‘Batman Ad Lota’ which was an anagram of one of our athletes, Amanda Talbot, who started with us on the couch to 5km programme and is now training for the London Marathon. So we put on this club event to all get behind her and show her our support. It was amazing.”
In addition to superhero themed half marathons, the club initiated a scavenger hunt activity that centred around an engraved wooden baton.
“We started a thing where somebody will go out for a run with the baton, hide it, and then post clues for people to go out on a run and find it,” said Anderson.
There were also more social and community focused activities and each week of the club’s ‘trisolation’ had a different theme, with the club taking an active role in mental health awareness week.
Anderson said, “I began by making a video of me talking and then nominated three people in the group that inspired or motivated me and then those people recorded a video and nominated others.
“What we found in that week was the most amazing, positive stories. The whole of our Facebook group was just flooded with people speaking really highly of other members, so that was really nice.”
Awards were given out at the end of the ‘trisolation’ period, with the club holding a Zoom event and printing mugs for the winning team.
Reflecting on the lockdown period, Anderson said: “I really think that good physical health and enjoyment in triathlon has to start with an encouraging network so, if people can feel like they are connected and listened to, then improvements both physically and in performance will come as a by-product of that.”
Around 80 of the club’s members took part in ‘trisolation’, joining teams and attending weekly sessions on Zoom. The club now looks forward to a return to activity after an unconventional six months.
“I think lockdown has really encouraged people to do something different and we’re really keen to harness that as we move back into normal training,” said Anderson. “People have come back with a really good vibe because we’ve all stayed in touch over lockdown. I feel like even though we didn’t see each other, we now know each other a lot better.”
Anderson continued: “As a club, it’s really important to make sure that people feel like they can have a go at anything and are supported in that.
“I really miss getting together and training with people but actually, given the circumstances I don’t think we could have made more with what we had. I’m really proud of everyone for pulling together.”
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