With World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland taking place on 29-30 July, find out a bit more about Sun City Triathlon, one of the Triathlon England Affiliated Clubs that swim, bike, run throughout the year near to where the event will be taking place on Roker Seafront.
Whether you’re wanting to get into swimming, cycling and running for the first time, after some top tips having entered the event in July, or are simply looking for a group of likeminded people to enjoy and develop your triathlon skills with, clubs are a great place to be.
Gordon Stutchbury is head coach at the club and, explaining a bit more about Sun City, he said: “We have 140 members at the moment. I think the youngest is about ten at the moment and our eldest has just entered the 80 category.
“It’s a friendly club and, although we have members who are seriously competitive, myself included, competing in Age-Group events, World and European Championships, we don’t push that. We tend to push the developmental side and encourage people.”
Sun City Triathlon are a Triathlon England Affiliated Club, which means they meet the requirements of the national governing body to operate. During the week, the club run a variety of sessions covering the three disciplines of triathlon (swimming, cycling and running), as well as strength and conditioning sessions, all taking place in and around Sunderland. During the winter some are held virtually, and the club make the most of local swimming pools for their swim sessions.
Stutchbury has been a member for a number of years having taken part in one of their events and then seeing one of their coaches in a local swimming pool: “The people there seemed to be enjoying themselves as a group, it seemed to be more fun than being an individual,” he said.
“With that kind of camaraderie comes the clout to hire venues and have the money to pay for things like swimming. We try to keep everything going for people over the winter when we tend to put on weight and some people have difficulties over Christmas and that social aspect might help them over that period. We try to think about everyone by having something that they might want to do.”
Sun City has something for all ages too, with opportunities for children and young people to learn the valuable life skills of swim, bike, run as part of the club. If that wasn’t enough, Coach and Welfare Officer, Chris Nicholas, was also named Triathlon England 2022 Participation Coach of the Year.
“If anyone comes to any of our sessions, they’ll instantly see that there are people of a wide range of ages and abilities,” Stutchbury continued. “We do have people with disabilities in the club, we have had people with autism in the club. We have quite a wide spectrum of people, it’s a non-threatening environment.
“Quite often at our sessions we have more ladies than gents, so it’s a good mix of people who are a little bit unsure of themselves.”
There’s more to the club than just training of course, they deliver their own annual triathlon event and duathlon event, with the run, bike, run duathlon taking place in March of this year. In fact, parts of the route for the Sun City Duathlon will also feature at 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland in July.
“Roker itself has more of a villagey, beach-based environment,” Stutchbury added. “It tends to be a bit more of a relaxed resort, with the history of the river from a ship-building perspective. It’s not a huge tourist resort, so all the people you tend to meet on the beach are local people, although we do see visitors over the summer.
“Encouraging people from all backgrounds, from all abilities to get involved is what we’re about, and seeing people who are from other communities, other areas, other regions participating in the sport, definitely does get people interested and once they’re interested we can take them from there and develop them as athletes.”
So whether you’re a regular participant of swimming, cycling or running, targeting World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland, or want to use it as a springboard to be more active, check out your local club for your swim, bike, run journey. Find local affiliated clubs, including Sun City Triathlon across England, Scotland and Wales on the British Triathlon Club Search https://www.britishtriathlon.org/clubs/search.
Not got your entry for 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland yet? The event takes place in and around Roker Seafront on 29-30 July 2023, with participation opportunities available across swim, bike, run for individuals and teams, as well as opportunities to volunteer and be part of bringing the event to life.
Find out more about the event and find the distance that’s right for you at https://sunderland.triathlon.org/2023.
Images provided by Sun City Triathlon