Alnwick Tri Club
Alnwick Tri Club hosted its eighth annual ladies-only Try-a-Tri at the end of last month.
This is an event designed to encourage females into the sport of triathlon in a non-competitive environment.
Alnwick Tri Club started this event because the proportion of females taking part in triathlon was so low (about 10 per cent of competitors in any race in the early 21st century).
While this has grown over the last 10 years, they are still very much in the minority (25-30 per cent) in any race.
Alnwick Tri Club is almost unique in Britain as a club that has more female members than male club members and this ladies-only Try-a-Tri event is one of the major reasons for this success.
The 200m (eight lengths) swim took place during the ladies-only swim session at Willowburn pool followed by a trip upstairs to the leisure centre gym to cycle 5km on the gym bike and run 2km on the treadmill.
Twelve ladies took part in the event and they all arrived in varying states of nervousness and doubt about being able to complete the triathlon, but many of the club members were on hand to put people at ease and answer the many questions the athletes had.
Despite every athlete declaring they just wanted to complete the event, as soon as they started swimming, they all became extremely competitive and took the event seriously as a race.
The eight lengths took between four and six minutes for all the competitors so there was no one massively in the lead after the first discipline, with Sophie Atkinson in first place with the fastest swim.
The ladies-only Try-a-Tri then differs from a normal triathlon as only the moving times were taken and all the competitors were allowed to change from their swimsuits into gym gear in their own time before getting onto the bikes.
This meant the athletes were pretty much rested when they started the cycle portion of the race and they all furiously cycled as if their lives depended on it.
Because they were all rested, again the split from fastest to slowest was only three minutes, with Sophie Atkinson fastest on the bike followed closely by Angie Embleton and Teleri Hamilton.
It ended with the run making a big difference where fitness levels started to play a big part.
By the end of the run, there were three athletes well clear of the rest of the field, but in the fastest run of the day, Hamilton just overtook Atkinson to take the win, with Embleton in third place with the second fastest run of the day despite being on the way back from knee surgery.
All the athletes finished the event within eight minutes of the winner which is the best entire group of female competitors the event has had in its history.
Gone were all traces of the initial nerves to be replaced by 12 triathletes having loved the experience and they all pored over the results eagerly to see what they had to do to get the best improvements.
So far, four of the athletes have signed up to do Alnwick Sprint Triathlon in May and two others have entered other local triathlons this year.
And while two of the competitors were already Alnwick Tri Club members, two more have started training with the club during the swimming sessions, getting coaching to improve their front-crawl technique.
For further information on Alnwick Tri Club or the sport of triathlon in general, email email@example.com