any of you may of seen the Olympics Triathlon events over the summer with the epic finish of the womens race that saw Spirig and Norden seperated by the most finite of margins having held off the challenges from Australia's Erin Densham, USA's Sarah Groff and GB's Helen Jenkins.
Although the tightness of competition was clear to see during the female race, the dominance of the, still very young, Brownlee brothers offered an alternative entertainment perspective for any sports fan. Alistair and Jonathan controlled the race from the starting gun and added to the medal haul of Team GB in great fashion, sporting their trademark style of crossing the finish line shoulder to shoulder to take the Gold and Silver. The Olympics provided triathlon with a captivated global audience to showcase it's quality and appeal as a sport, an opportunity that was certainly grabbed with both hands, but has triathlon done enough to inspire participation and break the common barriers and misconceptions held about this wonderful sport?
Triathlon has, for a long time now, been segregated from the average joe's of this world. The sport has been enveloped with an image of being only accesible by elite athletes, people with enough capital to afford the equipment needed to participate in the sport or by those who have anough free time to commit to 12+ hours training per week when in reality, this is not the case.
For the Rich:
From the perspective of an outsider triathlon will generally display a sport that is out of reach of anyone who is not rich or talented enough to be sponsored by a top brand. Typically triathlon magazines will showcase the top of the range bikes, wetsuits, trainers, tri-suits and training accessories which, for anybody new to the sport, describe an initial outlay of anything between £5000 to £10,000 just to get to the start line. In reality this set up could easily cost less than £1000 while still buying some excellent gear.
Below are some alternative methods to getting hold of equipment without breaking the bank:
Bundles: If you do have some capital and want brand new equipment then some stores and magazines do offer bundle packs that are very good value for money when considering the equipment is all new:
- Tri UK
- Total Fitness Nottingham
- The Triathlon Shop
There are other packages out there so keep an eye out as they do offer some pretty good deals.
Second Hand: The thought of wearing a person's second hand, pre sweaty tri suit is a difficult one to stomach and so buying a fresh suit may be the way to go (this may be the case for all triathlon garments), there is some equipment that can be bought very cheaply second hand. It will require either good luck or a keen nose to sniff out the best deals but a high quality second hand road bike is not uncommon to eBay. Do your research, don't be shy in checking out the bike in person to ensure it is in good condition and you are on your way to buying a quality bike for less than half the RRP.
Hire with option to buy: This is a common option for bike hire easily found online which offers a good alternative should the initial outlay for a bike be too steep. Wetsuits, if you are planning on racing open water, however have some truly superb deals for new triathletes. Some offer a wetsuit hired for a fee, significantly less that the value of the suit, that come the end of the season if you wish to keep then you pay a small additional fee to purchase the suit. This allows new triathletes the opportunity to try out the sport and if it is liked then you keep a very reasaonably priced suit or you return it and suffer very little financial loss.
- Tri UK (No extra fee if you wish to purchase at end of season as paid for at start of hire)
There are many other options available for hiring both bikes and wetsuits that can help keep the costs of triathlon down.
For the Fit:
Another misconception that triathlon faces is that it is only for those who are super fit already, people often only associate Ironman and other long distance events with triathlon and so immediately discredit themselves from taking part. Triathlon offers a variety of events catering for people who are exceptionally fit to those who are not. For anybody who feels that the Olympic distance triathlons are too much there are the sprint distances and for those who feel that may be too challenging there are the super sprints. Below is a brief breakdown of the different types of triathlon:
Wether you are super fit or currently struggle to maintain a light jog triathlon has a race that would represent an achievable target for everyone. If you are interested in finding a local race then you can try searching on the links below: