By JOHN VAN KLAVEREN
TRIATHLONS have grown exponentially in popularity in the past 10 years, with people from all walks of life having a go to achieve their personal bests.
So Geelong Triathlon Club should be thriving with lots of enthusiastic runners, cyclists and swimmers keen to attract more competitors to the sport.
After all, all types of triathlons are now available to accommodate competitors, from kids through to masters.
Even the Independent has joined the bandwagon, sponsoring the Superkidz triathlon at the annual Geelong Multi Sport Festival.
Alas, Geelong Triathlon Club exists as one of the sport’s oldest in Australia, formed by local pioneers of the sport in 1984, but it is more virtual than real. The club is down to just one or two volunteers keeping its tradition alive on the internet through the club’s website.
Victorian Institute of Sport assistant coach Jarrod Evans spends a fair bit of his own time in maintaining the site as well as his own sports business, Enduranceteam.
Jarrod runs the Geelong Triathlon Club site, appropriately enough, as a kind of triple hybrid along with Victorian Institute of Sport and Enduranceteam.
“I guess that by default I’ve taken over what the club does due to a lack of manpower,” Jarrod said.
“I could have let it go but I’d like to keep it going as a face for triathlon locally and an information portal.
“It still offers a point of reference for anyone who wants to get into triathlons.”
Jarrod said the focus in triathlons had changed for most people from running a club to competing in events.
“People are putting their time an effort into competing rather than running a club or volunteering.
“But triathlon in Geelong is massive and home to some of Victoria’s best triathletes. We have 80 local athletes in training.
“People interested in triathlons are coming along to our beginner sessions to receive some basic coaching. There are about 50 to 60 beginners in the program.”
Geelong has a rich triathlon tradition, producing some of the sport’s greatest athletes who have gone on to become Australian and world champions.
Geelong triathletes such as Greg Stewart, Tim and Steve Bentley and Brett Ricchini became the face of the sport in Geelong, inspiring many to join their ranks.
The region has hosted the world famous Tooheys Blue Triathlon Series, St George One Summer Series and many national and world standard events as one of the most popular triathlon destinations around the globe.
Over the years, Geelong Triathlon Club has run and helped run hundreds of events including national elite championships, long and short courses as well as club-level racing, providing local athletes with opportunities to race in their home town.
Despite its relative inactivity over the last few years, the club still supports local events like the popular Give Where You Live corporate triathlon.
Jarrod said anyone wanting more information about the club could visit geelongtriclub.com or phone him on 0407 533 062.