“The Accidental Triathlete” – Ryan T.

Up until 3years ago I would never have thought that triathlon was for me. The distances made me feel uneasy and the fact I hadn’t swam properly since my early teens meant I probably wouldn’t make it to the first transition, but after ‘retiring’ from playing rugby I needed to do something.

My boss then set a challenge…… Aberfeldy middle distance triathlon, consisting of 1900m swim, 90km bike and 21km run!!!

That was it, I was doing it and I hadn’t a clue where to start.

I had running kit and an old bike in the garage so the only real expense was a wet suit. I got one for £100 (I’ve still got it) so it was worth it.

I kind of forgot about it until about 6 weeks before the event when I thought I best start doing something.

I had been for the odd run and been out on my bike a couple of times. So naturally thought..that’s it I’m ready!!

I completed it in 8 hours. I’d never swam in open water before, (I had to breast stroke nearly the whole way) I’d never ran 21km and had only covered half the distance on the bike before the event but I had done it… I was nearly last but I’d done it!!!

The feeling of elation crossing the line was amazing, it just goes to show what can be done on a budget with little training.

I had just moved back to Berwick and saw there was a triathlon club starting so I plucked up the courage and went along to the swimming. The coaches were very welcoming and the session catered for all abilities including my ‘2 lengths and have a rest technique’. The coaches and other members keep you going and it doesn’t take long to see improvements.

The training became addictive and the confidence I gained from the structured swim sessions and group cycles meant I was soon on the lookout for another event and after a few sprint distance events I decided to take on Ironman UK 2015.

Tony Lummis had a plan he had previously used, so I gave it a go.

After six months of training and loads of advice from those who had done it before I crossed the line to the sound of those words I’d longed to hear………’YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!!’

I enjoy triathlon because you don’t have to go to a gym, just out the door and off you go. I work away a lot so it fits in nicely as most of the training can be done on my own and when I’m home there is the camaraderie of the club.

2016 I’m doing Ironman Stafford 70.3 and ‘Loch Gu Loch’ a swim run event near Loch Ness.

Triathlon should come with a warning….. Highly addictive.

Other ‘blogs’:

Tony L: “I want nothing out of the club other than to see it succeed and grow; not necessarily in numbers, although that would be most welcome, but in achieving the aims of the club in promoting the sport of triathlon.”

Adam F: “I began competing in triathlon in 2008, coming to the sport from a running and surfing background. The variety of disciplines involved attracted me and the cycling aspect in particular has grown into another passion.
I love to race and share experiences, advice and training time with others. I think a club environment with structured sessions can help individuals maintain their training impetus and focus as well as create a mutually supportive atmosphere and a chance to socialise.”

Claire B: “I am new to Berwick and the club has given me a great opportunity to meet new and like minded people.  I have always been a keen swimmer and have seen real improvements in my stroke and general fitness due to the excellent coaching.  I am just getting into the running and cycling side of things and am looking forward to improving these skills in the future.”

Paul B: “As a middle aged man keen on mountain biking, I hadn’t swum or run for a long time and was daunted by the prospect of taking part in my first triathlon. One year on with several sprint triathlons under my belt, I feel as healthy as I’ve felt for a long time. Having my own business and a supportive family allows me to be flexible and attend many of the training sessions. It is great being part of a club which recognises achievement not just by how fast you are but also by how much effort you put in.”

Steve F: I am 52 years old and have always been a bit of a runner.  Joining Tweed Triathlon club has certainly increased my motivation and incentive to improve my personal fitness goals amongst a group of like minded friendly people.  I volunteered to be the club’s welfare officer as I firmly believe that all members of the community should be able to participate in local sports without fear of abuse, intimidation or harassment.  My 30 years experience as a police officer certainly helps me in this area.”

David L: “A more mature member, I have been doing triathlons, mainly in the North East for about 10 years.  I was delighted when a local club was proposed and was keen to become part of the organisation; thus my involvement with membership.  I am keen to encourage members to compete in and enjoy triathlons at every level. I have even competed for GB in my age group at a World Championship, proving that all things are possible!”

Karen W: “As a new mum with a four month old baby and two other children I was looking for a more sociable way of exercising, not just going for walks with a pram. Now a year later I’ve really enjoyed training in all three areas, especially swimming. It’s a real skill and I’m always learning how to improve due to fantastic coaching!”

Dominic B: “I joined the committee in the early stages and have witnessed the massive development of the club first hand. We have a strong backbone and a bright future in front of us. Personally I am keen cyclist and enjoy running.  Swimming is by far my weakest discipline but I try, which is all we ask.  I organise the Weekend rides which are very relaxed, incredibly sociable and a fantastic opportunity to get know people.”

Henrietta B-C: “In 2002 I completed my first triathlon, the London Triathlon, and was hooked! I soon progressed to middle and then long distance but after 10 years of racing triathlon, have decided to concentrate on fell running and ultras now. But as I still love the camaraderie and fun that a club environment brings, I have taken up coaching so I can still be involved with all aspects of triathlon and give something back to the sport that I’ve so enjoyed. It’s great being able to help and encourage others to take up triathlon and to help them work towards achieving their goals be it just to take part and enjoy it or to achieve a place in a GB age-group team.”

Paul G: “For my first (novice) triathlon I’d cranked up my swimming from 2 sessions a year to 2 sessions a week for a couple of months. The mountain bike appeared from the back of the garage for 5 outings totalling around 30 miles and jogging was erratic at around 20 miles a week. I was clearly fully prepared and bought goggles to prove it.

An encouraging start with the trusty breaststroke getting me out of the pool not quite in last place. Bit of a slow transition (no practice I admit) and a fleeting image of the leader (Scott Neyedli no less) finishing the cycle as just started off up the hill. I did ease past one cyclist just before the end, but only because he had broken his chain. Then an encouraging transition as I was already in full running gear (so just drop the bike and helmet and go). I was pretty confident about finishing now with only the run to go, but my legs had forgotten how to move. Several days later I finished (only joking).

Good bits… I finished, was uninjured and rather enjoyed it.

Things to think about… Learn front-crawl, get/borrow a bike without knobbly tyres, train a bit more and join a triathlon club.”