Athlone Triathlon Club's 'Get Men Moving' Programme

In 2019, Triathlon Ireland announced the Get Men Moving grant for clubs to host a New to Tri programme for men aged over 35 who are returning to sport. There are now eleven programmes taking place in clubs around the country.

Thanks to Athlone Triathlon Club for sending in the following report on their programme.

Athlone TC - Get Men Moving

get men moving

After a  six week training programme, Athlone triathlon club hosted it's get men moving mini triathlon yesterday evening, Feb 20th.

At the start of the programme, 14 men, some complete beginners, some coming back after many years of inactivity, signed up to have a go. Like all newbies to any new challenge, they were nervous and doubtful that they could ever do a triathlon, particularly as quite a few of them were unable or barely able to swim. 

With the help of their coaches, they attended three training sessions each week, one swim, bike (turbo) and run. 

The biggest challenge was the swim, with some participants having to learn almost from scratch. Over the weeks, they got stuck in and worked hard,  overcoming setbacks and their fears, eventually managing to swim one length- a huge milestone for them. Some had no cycling experience, some had injury problems suffered years earlier that made running difficult, some had overcome health problems in the past, and some had just forgotten what it was like to train and be fit. So for them all, the challenge was a huge one. 

The six weeks flew by and suddenly they were togged out and lined up to start their first triathlon which consisted of a 200m pool swim, a 30 minute cycle on a turbo trainer or gym bike and then a 3k run to finish. I think it's fair to say that was a true and honest test for even a more experienced athlete, never mind a beginner. 

The excitement was palpable, the slagging and craic was brilliant - partly adrenaline and partly nervousness. 

3, 2, 1 and they were off. The nervousness and fear was gone, replaced with a steely will to complete the distance, the furthest in one go that some had ever done. In no time they were out of the water, on the bikes, side by side where the banter continued, everyone working hard but clearly enjoying themselves. After their 30 minutes, each was off and out on their run, where the stronger runners now had their opportunity to chase down the quicker swimmers ahead. Again it was remarkable to see the competitive streak emerging, with everyone pushing hard till the end. 

How did they feel afterwards???

On a complete high is the only way one could describe it. Exhausted but full of energy and enthusiasm at the same time. The quotes from some of the participants speak for themselves:

"What a great night I am  still buzzing. I just had to turn up and enjoy myself but I know all the work that went on in the background from the coaches Mick and Olivia and the stewards in the previous six weeks and especially on the night. From the t shirts to the chocolate cake and tea.  The minding and the encouragement i got was second to none thank you all for your support"

"I was dreading the run and only for the encouragement i wouldn't have got through it." 

This was a brilliant event and something Athlone Triathlon Club is delighted we got involved in. Not alone have we all these new members in our club but also wives and children who have joined and are already planning their first event. 

A big thank you to Triathlon Ireland for promoting and supporting this event, and also to Westmeath sports partnerships for their support and assistance. 

To the staff at the Aura leisure centre in Ballinasloe, thank you for your support and help, without which this event would not have been possible. 

To those who helped out on the night, Ger, Laura and Rebecca  and all who helped in the lead up, well done and thank you. You have made a difference. 

Yours in sport

Athlone Triathlon Club.