IT’S a Sheffield club that has been running for 25 years… and swimming… and cycling.
Members of Sheffield Triathlon Club are celebrating their silver anniversary, with growing interest from sports enthusiasts wanting to push themselves that little bit further.
“They say it’s the fastest growing sport in the country,” said race organiser Ady Dench. “We are one of the oldest clubs in the country and have an ever increasing membership.”
The Sheffield organisation has more than 200 members, with numbers boosted last summer by the chance to swim in the lake at Rother Valley Country Park.
All abilities are attracted. Ages run into the sixties and a junior section was formed last year.
Two original members – Bob Pringle and Mick Clarkson – are still going strong.
The triathlon involves swimming, then cycling and finally running. There are a variety of distances, including the Ironman challenge, which Ady completed in Zurich in 2008 with a 3.8km swim in the lake, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile marathon.
The centrepiece of the Sheffield club’s year is the Hathersage Hilly Triathlon in July, which attracts more than 350 competitors from across the country for a 420 metre swim in the open air pool, a 20km cycle ride in the hills and a 7km run through woodland and countryside.
Ady, aged 41, a self-employed decorator who lives in Ecclesall Road, said: “As much as I love training and pushing myself, the social side is as important.
“Cycling with your mates on a sunny Sunday morning – it’s like being a kid again…”
As well as training sessions and races throughout the year there are social events, dinners and presentation evenings. Committee meetings are held in The Stag pub in Psalter Lane, Nether Edge.
Meanwhile Ady is aiming to cycle 874 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats in only four days in the summer accompanied by another member of the club, Andy ‘Woody’ Turner, aged 29, who lives in Meersbrook. Other friends will drive the support van.
They will be raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care in memory of Ady’s father John Dench, who died last month, only two months after a brain tumour was diagnosed.
The care he received at his home from Marie Curie and St Barnabas nurses was “exceptional”, said Ady. “We will forever be in gratitude to these selfless people who put both the care of the patient and the family to the fore in such distressing times.”
Pedalling 220 miles a day is quite a challenge, though, even for triathlon enthusiasts.
Ady added: “Land’s End to John O’Groats is something I’ve always wanted to do and this made me do it. With it being for charity we felt it had to be hard and there is a chance of failure because we’ll be pushing it a bit.”