Tuff Fitty Triathlon Club’s 30th anniversary celebrations provided an opportunity to celebrate and raise money for causes close to the club's heart, according to chairman Clive Harvey.
Founded in 1991 and based in West Sussex, Tuff Fitty was affected by the pandemic just like every other club but was able to celebrate its anniversary once national restrictions eased. However, after three members of the club were diagnosed with cancer, with one sadly passing away, the celebrations were also used to raise money for local charities.
Harvey, 64, said: “There’s an outdoor lido near us, so we had an aquathlon. We swam, ran and then had a big barbeque afterwards. We had a raffle as well - we got in contact with several sports companies who sent us vouchers and prizes.
“It’s been a dreadful year for some of our members. We’ve had three people seriously ill with cancer and unfortunately one of them died just a couple of weeks ago, so we actually donated a fair bit of the raffle money to the local cancer charity.
“It was nice that we were able to help a local charity as well as have a bit of a knees up as well.”
The club has also raised money for Mind in the past, with raising awareness of mental health and the connection between sport and health a key part of the club’s ethos. The club’s #NOT2TUFF2TALK project encourages members to open up about mental health struggles and share how triathlon and physical activity has helped them.
It was the relationship between physical and mental health which meant that the club ran several different schemes during the pandemic, a time that many may have been isolated.
Harvey said: “We designed a run course out in the country. We took photos of the start and finish, so people did that on their own so they chose to run either a 5km or 10km. That worked quite well because people could do it individually.
“That really provided a competitive spirit as people started going up there individually to run really hard. People were going back again and again to beat their times, and we got a leaderboard which was very successful.
“Another thing we did was introduce ‘Fancy Dress Friday’ where people went out dressed as Santa Claus, Superman, anything you like. That received quite a few honks and toots from motorists going past.
“I’m not very outgoing and I was a little reluctant but I did take part a couple of times and I was quite surprised how much it brought a smile to people’s faces.
“We started doing group Zwift rides. We had a Discord voice channel so that enabled anybody to still be in contact and have banter whilst we're cycling
“That was only supposed to be during the pandemic but that’s developed to such a point where it’s become a permanent feature of our club training.
“I’m really pleased how we managed to get through the pandemic. We were still recruiting members and we’re busy at the moment taking new members in. People found they had to go outdoors and they liked it!”