Family fun through swim, bike, run

02 March, 2023

Family fun through swim, bike, run

It was a swim in the sea and a run along Roker seafront like no other for Sunderland locals Robert Samuels and his seven-year-old son Eli last summer.

They were one of the families who were part of the family event at last year’s British Triathlon Super Series Grand Final and, with an even bigger event coming to Roker this summer, they will be back in the water again.

“It was something different,” Robert said. “Normally we do running or swimming so it was nice to be able to do the two activities at the same time together and we thought it would be a bit of fun.

“I had previously looked at triathlons, but I thought would I be able to do them, so it was a nice small introduction for me and something Eli and I could do together. I was a little bit apprehensive of Eli swimming in the sea but the way the marshals and safety people were in the kayaks monitored everything we were doing really helped to set my mind at ease.

“It was really good having the crowd there. It was really encouraging. It made you feel like you were part of a big event as well as just doing it as a family orientated activity.”

The pair enjoyed the experience that much they will be returning to take on the Swim Bike Run Mini this summer when the World Triathlon Championship Series comes to Sunderland over the weekend of 29-30 July.

AJ Bell 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland is a flagship event as part of the collaborative work between Sunderland City Council and Triathlon England to develop swim, bike, run participation and resource within the local community.

Children from as young as four can take part in the Swim Bike Run Mini – a 50m swim and 1km run – accompanied by an adult during a weekend of swim, bike, run in Roker, which will include participation opportunities across a range of distances for individuals and teams.

“We are both entering it again,” Robert added. “We both really enjoyed it last time. It was well run, we got great support from the crowd, it was a really good event, and we both loved it so we thought we would do it again this year.

“It was very family orientated. One thing I was really happy with was the marshals said it isn’t a competition so we’re going to take everyone out in groups of four so the kayaks can stay with you as you’re swimming.

“You didn’t feel any pressure because it wasn’t a race, it’s not timed so it’s just a case of going out there having fun and enjoying the event and that definitely helped relax you.”

With this year’s World Triathlon Championship Series event also including elite races, it will allow families to not only see the world’s best triathletes racing around Roker, but also providing an opportunity to give swim, bike, run a go themselves.

“It's really great that Sunderland are able to host events like this,” Robert said. “We have the facilities, we have the sea, we are able to have the bike and the run course. It helps put Sunderland on the map and it’s a really big event for the city.

“It is a really big honour that the event is now here as it’s been in Leeds for a number of years. I have seen little bits of triathlon events if it’s on the BBC, but it is more of the Olympic side of triathlon we watch. Last year we stayed around to watch some of the athletes taking part and we’ll definitely do that again this year.”

More triathlons are likely to follow for the pair with Robert already thinking about doing more events following his experience last year.

“I think Eli probably will take part in more as he grows older,” Robert said. “He enjoys swimming, he enjoys being on his bike and he enjoys running so something that combines all three of them I can see him definitely doing.

“I normally do marathons and half marathons but I’m looking at maybe taking up triathlons in the future.”

Interested in getting involved with Swim Bike Run Mini or another of the participation events at AJ Bell 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Sunderland? Find out more about the event and find the distance that’s right for you at