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Community partnerships & support at 2019 London Triathlon


For this year’s London Triathlon, taking place on 27-28 July, the event has formed a number of partnerships. Partner organisations include Gloves Not Gunz; a youth based organisation that offers free sporting initiatives to young people aged between 7 & 19 who are at risk of youth and gang violence.

Gloves not Gunz specialises in early intervention work and is based in Croydon, South London, in schools, community centres and out of its own Boxing Gym. It is currently running satellite sessions in crime hotspots within Croydon to engage young people into positive sporting activities and mentoring programmes.

Gloves not Gunz will be sending a team of young people to compete at this year’s London Triathlon. Some will be competing individually while others will compete in relay teams.

There are two further opportunities for athletes this year:

  • London based athletes will be able to use the London Triathlon as part of the London League via a partnership with British Triathlon.
  • There is also a big focus on getting new athletes into the sport with plenty of opportunities within the Super Sprint distance – as the event seeks to tackle the gender gap in participation sport.

The London Triathlon team note that women’s sport is currently enjoying unprecedented levels of growth. However, in many mass participation sport events the number of women participating is still well behind the men.

London Triathlon organiser Limelight Sports, ‘the agency of the active world’, is committed to improving the ratio of women and men throughout its varied portfolio of participation events. For this year’s London Triathlon, it has teamed up with Her Spirit, a personalised coaching app aimed specifically at women. Together they have recruited 30 women new to the sport to ‘understand why less women take part and what can be done to change this.’

According to the Triathlon Industry Association (TIA), despite some recent increases, 68% of triathlon competitors are male. Limelight notes that the gender balance in cycling events is even worse, and although running events are more equal Marastats shows that 62% of marathon runners and 54% of half marathon runners are male. Participation in these sports more broadly is still very male skewed according to Sport England’s Active Lives survey – 63% of cyclists and 55% of runners are male.

Her Spirit targets women looking to take part in participation events for the first time and make the experience as easy, supportive and as enjoyable as possible. Expert coaching and peer to peer support from like-minded women helps to guide women through all the elements involved in taking part.

For the London Triathlon at the end of July, 30 women were chosen to join the initial programme which was six times over-subscribed. The selected women received a number of benefits including free entry to the event, use of a wetsuit for training and competing, an 8 week training programme including one-to-one online coaching sessions, their own online community and group coaching sessions.

One of the women selected is 36 year old Claire Smith from Chigwell in London and her story was typical of many. “I am relatively fit and I love to swim, run and cycle but have never been brave enough to enter a triathlon,” she said. “I only swim breaststroke so thought this would automatically disqualify me from entering. I also don’t own a wetsuit.

“The level of support offered to enter this triathlon is just what I need to get that first one in the bag and hopefully start what could be a lifelong love of triathlons.”

The London Triathlon combines four distances – Super Sprint, Sprint, Olympic and Olympic Plus – taking place over two days on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th July. Sunday’s Westminster’s route enables athletes to race around iconic London landmarks such as Big Ben followed with a short lap turn at Billingsgate.



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