Enjoying swim, bike, run through GO TRI at AJ Bell 2022 WTCS Leeds

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If you have ever thought about getting involved in swim, bike, run, then give it a go. That was the recurring message as hundreds of people, including many first-timers, combined swim, bike, run during the GO TRI waves at AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds.

Over 180 participants took part in the GO TRI distance of a 200m swim, 9.5km bike and 2.5km run as they were one of the first waves to be set off at the start of the two-day swim, bike, run festival in Roundhay Park.

Like GO TRI events across the country, there were participants with their own reason and story for wanting to take part and complete the swim, bike, run around Roundhay Park.

For many, the GO TRI event was a chance to combine all three of swim, bike, run for the first time.

Henock and Tommy Temesgen were both born and grew-up in Eritrea, before moving to Leeds last summer. When they arrived in the city, they didn’t know anyone, but after being introduced to swim, bike, run by Morley Triathlon Club, that soon changed.

Through the support of the club, its members and their now joint love for swim, bike, run, they’ve become regular attendees at the club’s sessions, embracing all three sports and for the first time in the GO TRI event in Leeds they combined all three.

Speaking after completing their first triathlon, Henock said: “We came to Leeds alone, but being involved in triathlon has become a big part of our lives since we came to Leeds, and it’s helped us a lot.

“This is all new to us, we have never seen or been part of anything like this before, it’s brilliant, we’ve really enjoyed it and we did it. The club have been so supportive, we can’t thank them enough for all their help.”

Sue Oates and Jan Oldham, both part of Her Spirit, also combined swim, bike, run for the first time.

Oldham’s first experience included completing the bike on TV presenter and GB Age-Group triathlete, Louise Minchin’s bike, and after crossing the line said: “It was so much harder than I thought it was, but the adrenalin and Louise Minchin’s bike got me through. We’re part of a group called Her Spirit and they’re really supportive and encouraged us all the way.

“I’d never really considered doing a triathlon but doing it with people similar to me and in such a supportive group encouraged me to do it. It was all really relaxed and friendly, even the safety briefing at the beginning put you at ease.”

Also sharing her experience, Oates added: “I’ve wanted to do one for a number of years but there has always been things getting in the way. I started exercising a bit more in lockdown and walking more, so I thought I am going to have to do it now because otherwise I probably wouldn’t do it.

“I woke-up this morning feeling sick with nerves but as soon as I was in the water they went. It’s such a great event to be a part of, it’s party and festival-like, it’s got a lovely welcoming feel to it.”

The GO TRI event also included This Girl Can waves and one of those participating was Leeds This Girl Can ambassador, Elizabeth Stephensen-Payne. “This is my third triathlon, and this level of triathlon is just about right for my age group,” Stephensen-Payne said.

“I’m a Leeds This Girls Can ambassador and what I’m trying to do is encourage older women to do things like this. At least give it a try – that wasn’t a pun by the way. I really love swimming and my favourite is open water swimming, so getting the chance to swim in the lake has been fabulous.

“The atmosphere has been brilliant, it’s really supportive. I really like the way that everybody cheers you and makes you feel comfortable even though you may be the last person on the block.”

To find out more about getting involved in swim, bike, run, including future opportunities near you, visit https://www.gotri.org/whats-on.

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