The Windrush TriFit is back. From 23 May, Windrush Triathlon Club will once again be putting on its training programme designed with the Brixton community in mind.
“Triathlon is a mixture of swimming, cycling and biking all in one race,” Louise Newman, the club’s TriFit officer, told me.
The training programme consists of five coached sessions, with two sessions per week made up of a mix of running, swimming and strength work.
The club aims to take people from their existing experience level to race ready in just six weeks!
“In recent years, triathlon has really taken off,” Louise says. “I think that’s because we’ve got a really solid UK team and they do really well in bigger events like the Olympics and the Commonwealth games.
“So it’s definitely building, but in terms of a sport, I do think it’s still in its infancy.
“It’s exciting to watch the sport grow, but I think we are behind as a sport in terms of diversifying, particularly at the top levels.”
Louise is looking for new recruits for the programme to get involved and to help diversify the sport, right here on our doorstep in Brockwell park and the lido.
“It’s all very local and we want to get people from this area involved with the programme,” Louise says.
Like many things, triathlon struggles with diversity and accessibility issues. Promoting itself in communities that are not predominantly white is what the current programme is centred around.
“A massive focus for us is diversity,” Louise says. “We still have a long way to go. And if, at least, we can focus on a local level, in terms of the club itself, there are people who are very Brixton based, so that feels like a great place to start.
“Our main criterion is looking for people who are from minority ethnic backgrounds – who are Black or Asian. That’s our focus because, although it’s great to get anybody involved in triathlon, we really need more diversity.”
For many people, accessibility is the problem. A huge part of the sport involves riding, but a bike is a costly commodity.
The Windrsuh TriFit programme focuses on the running and swimming aspects of the discipline in the hope of making it open and welcoming to anyone, whatever their socio-economic background.
Louise explains: “One of the ways we’re trying to make it more diverse, is that we’ve taken out the bike aspect because that is one of the most expensive parts of the sport and relies on people not only having a bike but being comfortable enough to ride at a competitive level – It’s not a leisurely ride around the park.
“There are a whole host of positives to the sessions, which are not just centred on fitness.
“First, it’s just a lot of fun. When you look at it from an outsider perspective, triathlon can seem really daunting. But it’s a great way to challenge yourself with something that you might not otherwise have done.
“To focus on more than one sport in one go keeps you really, really fit. You’re not just focusing on one area, there’s different aspects to it.
“This is a great way to just mix up your training. They say that triathlon is one of the best workouts you can do! And that’s a great, great new thing to pick up, a great hobby to have and a good way to meet new people and to find out a little bit more about what’s going on – just in Brixton and Lambeth there are lots of things to do outside.”
Sessions start on 23 May. So sign up now!