Triathlon is a great example of a physical activity where children, adults and families can all reap the benefits of participating together!
Morven Bruce, Marketing and Communications Manager at Triathlon Scotland, said:
“We believe that swim, bike, run is for everyone - and we want our participants to enjoy lifelong benefits from taking part in the sport. Many of our clubs and events across the country cater for both children and adults, making triathlon a great sport for the whole family and across generations.”
Something for everyone
There are many ways to take part in a triathlon. Morven discussed the perceived barriers to entry:
“We recognise that not everyone likes to, or even can, swim, cycle, or run. Our sport is actually any combination of the three disciplines together. Our formats come in different distances, from very short to long endurance races, which makes our sport perfect for all ages and abilities. There can be a misconception that everyone in the sport is already super fit and that the sessions will be really difficult, but the truth is that our clubs across Scotland are full of members of all ages, shapes and sizes and at varying degrees of fitness.”
Gayle MacLachlan, a participant at Stirling Triathlon Club, commented:
"I love training, and this gives me three sports for the price of one. It's also inclusive, from absolute beginners wanting to have a go to your serious athletes, all lining up together. Not many other sports can offer that."
All triathlon events are open to everyone, with no upper age limitations. Morven said:
“Local events will typically award prizes in ten-year age bands up to 70+. However, our Scottish Championship races award medals in five-year age bands from U20 to 80+, so you are never too old to be on the podium. Our competitive events for children begin from age eight and are always traffic free.”
“Our National Schools and Youth Triathlon Championships are incredibly popular, with children travelling from all corners of the country to attend. Talented youngsters also can join our performance pathway and compete in the British Triathlon Super Series.”
Runs in the family
The ability to cater for children and adults at the same time offers a unique opportunity for the whole family to get involved. Morven said:
“We hope that by allowing parents and children to train and compete together, we can retain more people in the sport for longer. It is great for children to see their parents being active and encourage them to lead their own healthy and active lifestyles in the future.”
Physical & mental health benefits
Swimming, cycling and running are all perfect sports to help you get active and stay fit. Morven added:
“The variety of three different disciplines means your whole body will get a great workout and swimming and cycling are both non-weight bearing activities meaning they can be a great option without putting too much strain on the body.”
Pentland Triathletes member, 77 year old Ian May, was the oldest sprint competitor at the 2023 Scottish National Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships. He said:
"I started running at 60 and it just so happened that the club I was in did triathlons too, so I thought I'd have a go. The only problem was I didn't know how to swim so I had to learn how to do that first!”
“Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s" added Morven.
With triathlon, there is also the added benefit of getting to train outdoors in the open air which can be great for your mood. Similarly, going for a swim, cycle or run can be a great way to clear your head and get a surge of mood-boosting endorphins.