A year to remember for new club

By Jamie Arrowsmith Thursday 24 January 2013 Updated: 31/01 16:28

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Buy photos » Plenty of people have been encouraged to take up triathlon during the past 12 months. (s)

THERE was plenty to celebrate in the triathlon world for GB athletes throughout 2012 but closer to home a local club is also buoyant after enjoying a highly positive first 12 months.

The new club, launched in both Bromsgrove and Redditch last January, has been supported by the expertise and enthusiasm of Birmingham Running, Athletics and Triathlon Club (BRAT Club), in partnership with Triathlon England and the David Lloyd Centre, Bromsgrove.

Despite persistently challenging weather conditions, the first year of the “BRATs in the South” (BITS) initiative saw wide participation in the full range of triathlon activities.

Training varied from track running at Bromsgrove’s Ryland centre, cross-country running around the Waseley Hills to fun but challenging bike spinning sessions and road rides.

Swim training was also catered for with well attended coach-led sessions at David Lloyd Bromsgrove, Redditch’s Abbey Stadium and for the wetsuit-clad, Barnt Green Sailing Club at Bittell Reservoir.

BRAT Club chairman Tauny Southwood, said: “The highlight was the emergence of a dedicated band of regular participants who became triathletes for the first time during the 2012 triathlon season.

“Their energy, enthusiasm and sense of fun has contributed hugely to the success of the project and ensured that it is sustainable into the future. Everyone is welcome and everyone can become a triathlete, becoming fitter and happier in the process.”

Stefan Pearce from Triathlon England added: “We were able to support a triathlon coach training programme resulting in a locally based group of knowledgeable triathlon coaches who will continue to expand the number of triathlon training sessions available to the general population of Bromsgrove and Redditch during 2013 and beyond.”

Two members who are new to the sport since the formation of the club are Redditch’s James Parker and Bromsgrove’s Stacey Bamford.

“I’ve been training with the BRAT Club for a year and have improved significantly in all disciplines,” James said.

“Thanks to the efforts and enthusiasm of the coaches and members, I went from a complete beginner to completing an Olympic distance triathlon.

Stacey joined when the club was launched and from a standing start completed the Welsh Ironman challenge which included a 2.4m swim, 112m cycle and 26.2m run.

“I stupidly signed up to do an Ironman triathlon having never ridden a road bike and completely unable to swim front crawl,” she said.

“The key to my success and completion of Ironman Wales was the structured training, support and advice given to me by the club.”

There are running, bike and swim training sessions open to everyone. For more information visit

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