Real growth at local club

The NI Tri Club athletes before a weekly training swim.

The NI Tri Club athletes before a weekly training swim. - Credit: Archant

The sport of triathlon is booming and the UK can make a reasonable claim to be seen as the best in the world-Chrissie Wellington, The Brownlee brothers, Non Stanford. It is most pleasing to report that the sport is enjoying massive growth in East Devon via the N1 Tri club.

The local environment is a triathlete’s dream with its breathtaking coastline, miles and miles of tracks set in spectacular beauty for running activities and all sorts of opportunities for cyclists to escape the main routes and enjoy the calm of the countryside.

The Club is very proud of the progress it has made in the past year. First of all its Head Swim Coach Peter Wilby, who is a GB athlete, added a World title to his impressive resume in the ITU Long Course race in Belfort France last weekend. The club has sessions in Honiton, Axminster and Sidmouth, with each session having a different emphasis. Many members of the club get their wetsuits out on Friday evenings and swim in the sea in Sidmouth under the leadership of Jim Ephraums. There are usually 3 ability groups with escort canoes and beach barbecues for supporters and families.

The Cycling side of the club is led by Karl Hodson, a former time trial champion. Under Karl’s guidance many club members have transformed their riding. A brand new and very exciting feature of the club is closed road sessions at The Westpoint arena where racing skills and mini events allow members to experience full speed cycling in a safe environment. Many club members now race regularly in weekly time trials in the Cullumpton area too.

Running activities are led by Jane Beech and offer all sorts of opportunities from regular 5km races at Killerton House to well planned off road group runs in which lead runners circle back so as to include all abilities.

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All club members are encouraged to race and many have completed their first event this year including local teachers , Keri Henkus and Rae Owen and former prop forward Mike Shillingford who has turned the setback of a major injury into a whole new sporting opportunity. The club is rapidly approaching a membership of around 100.

The club has a number of athletes preparing for Ironman races this summer (2.4 miles swim, 112 miles of cycling and 26.2 miles of running) and only last week one of its members, Club Secretary Liz Elliott, qualified to represent GB in the World Championships this summer. A feature of triathlon is that age group categories are strictly observed and all participants are able to ‘try out’ for international honours at various qualifying races. A number of club athletes will be racing at Bristol in the near future trying to achieve selection.

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The Club’s motto is ‘Be the best you can be’ and this motto sets the tone for an approach that encourages all members to achieve their peak fitness and to take part in this wonderful sport.

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