Swim, Bike, Run, Repeat in the UNESCO Global Geopark
Goodrington Beach will play host to a tough endurance sport this weekend (7 July) with the Geopark Triathlon. We spoke to Ben Tisdall of Sportiva Events to find out about the course, what it takes and if this is an event just for the super fit.
Tell us about your interest in endurance sports
“I'm obsessed with endurance sports particularly running and cycling. Becoming a full time race organiser has put the kibosh on my own triathlon career, as you can't participate in your own races.”
How did the Geopark Triathlon come about? And why?
"The event was revived about six years ago by Brendon Prince of Torbay Surf Life Saving Club, and I took it over 3 years ago. Goodrington Beach is a fantastic spot for a sea swim. Hilly Devon lanes with some great views provide the bike course and what's not to like about a coast path run?"
It's British Triathlon affiliated, what does that mean?
“It means it has been organised and risk assessed to match the tough standards set by British Triathlon. It also has appropriate insurance, and is conducted in a fair and safe manner.”
You could hold this event anywhere in the world, why here?
“It's on my doorstep and South Devon is a beautiful place for swimming, running and cycling. But the perfect place for a triathlon would be somewhere with less cars and less people.”
It's a tough course, tell us about it?
“You can't cycle very far in Devon without hitting a hill and there are a couple of really tough ones on the bike course which have to be done twice for those doing the Standard distance triathlon. In the run, in addition to hills, there are quite a few steps which are always tough for runners. And it's going to be pretty warm for running by the time the last people finish.”
Trish Deykin will be taking part, tell us about her role with Sportiva Events?
“Trish has competed in and won events I've organised before, so we asked her to become our first female Sports Ambassador. She's really an inspiration to anyone who's suffered from a serious illness or injury. To compete at such a high level while suffering from MS is incredible.”
What kind of training do the pros and fanatics go through before each event?
“Serious triathletes usually train six days a week and often train more than one sport each day. You have to be pretty dedicated to do an early morning pool session before work in the middle of the winter and then get on your turbo to do some cycling when you finish work. The Brownlee brothers train for up to 40 hours, but a lot of the best amateurs are fitting in 20 hours a week around work. That takes dedication.”
Beginners and young people can take part too. Why is that important to you?
“Beginners and young people are the future of the sport. But also it's so important for people to stay fit and active. Most of the young people won't become elite athletes, but hopefully they've learned some skills and picked up some exercise habits that will serve them well throughout their lives. I also love watching the first timers finish, particularly the ones who aren't super fit and for whom just finishing a triathlon deserves a medal which fortunately we are able to supply.”
What do you hope for on Sunday?
“I hope it runs smoothly and that everyone enjoys themselves. And that nobody falls off their bike!”
You can find out more and register for the Geopark Triathlon on their website: https://sportivaevents.co.uk/events/geopark-triathlon/ You can download the course map from here. Even if you're not taking part, take a walk down to Goodrington Beach and watch the event unfold.