For most people the idea of doing one sport is hard enough. But some people are up for a challenge, doing multiple sports in a single race or event. The sport of triathlon for example consists of swimming, cycling, and running over varying distances depending on the classification. At the Triathlon Club in St Andrews, they typically do “sprint” triathlon, which is a 750m swim, 20km cycle, and a 5km run. This and with other variations of the sport were all helpfully explained to me by Club President Patrick Schrempf.
For instance, there is a version called Aquathlon, which is a swim and a run.
Then there is the Duathlon, the version that was used during St Andrews’ very own Autumn Duathlon. As race director Louie Gray explained, it consisted of a 5km run, a 23km cycle, and a 2.5km run. This particular event marked the beginning of the off-season events that sees the Triathlon club travel all across the UK. Their own event was hence perfectly suited for freshers. It also included locals and members of triathlon clubs from across Scotland and saw around 70 people competing. That relationship between the University club and locals has allowed the triathlon team to compete at local events across Scotland in preparation for events closer to the start of the season. They also have events planned with East Fife and Dundee triathlon clubs. Other preparation for BUCS competitions happens in a slightly less competitive format. They run eight sessions a week for people of all levels to come along to, including a strength and conditioning session. The president stressed that people were free to do as many sessions as they like, whether it be for fitness, to improve on a specific sport, or for proper training. For the more casual athletes they also have Thursday night runs and East Sands swims on Fridays.
However, the club does also cater to those actively willing to compete at a national level. They regularly compete in Scottish Student Sport events across several disciplines of Triathlon. At the end of April, they normally send a team down south to compete in the BUCS sprint triathlon. Last year saw one of their athletes come in the top 30 in a race of over 600 people. That team that travelled last year was the largest they had ever sent down, consisting of a squad of 12. They will also be competing in the BUCS duathlon on 19 November for their very first time, sending a team of 14.
With this blend of competitiveness and inclusiveness in their sport, Triathlon is a club on the up. It is a sport that can sometimes be given an off-putting label: you need to be committed, you have constant training, and there is a perceived expectation that within a year you will be competing at a university level. This label does not apply to the St Andrean club, however. Just two years ago, they only had an active membership group of around 10 people. Those numbers have now more than quadrupled, something that the president put down to increased commitment of the club’s committee. He also emphasised the focus on welcoming people new to the sport and freshers, along with being more laidback and friendly, as ways they have overcome any negative labels. If you are interested and want to get involved, the best way to do so is to like the club’s Facebook page and keep up to date with all the upcoming events.