Female triathlon participation on the rise

Increasing numbers of female athletes are getting involved in triathlon, says British Triathlon

Credit: Henry Wheddon

Following a summer of success for the sport, British Triathlon has just announced that women’s participation in triathlon is now higher than ever before.

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This news coincides with Women’s Sport Week (3-9 October), a Sport England campaign aiming to increase the profile of women’s sport across the UK.

British Triathlon Women’s Participation Lead, Jenny Vincent, said: “We’re proud to be supporting Women’s Sport Week 2016 and celebrating the diverse range of females we have involved in the sport.

“We are experiencing a growing interest in triathlon following our women’s success at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games, along with an increase in participation opportunities. We hope to see these numbers continue to grow over the coming year as we provide more specific chances for women to give tri a try.”

It’s clear to see just how much participation has increased from the fact that 30% of qualified triathlon coaches are women, compared to a national sporting average of 17%.

To support the campaign, British Triathlon is hosting a number of Women’s Triathlon Training days alongside ‘Getting Women into Triathlon’ workshops to encourage more females to give it a try. 

This is also a great time to recognise the female athletes who are at the top of their game. British Triathlon’s elite females have won four Olympic and Paralympic medals between them, plus a host of ITU World and ETU European titles. 

Rio Paralympic Silver Medallist, Lauren Steadman, said: “It’s fantastic news to hear so many more women are taking up triathlon. I believe there are around 1200 events every year in Great Britain, so there is plenty of opportunity to set a goal for next spring and have a go.

“Triathlon offers a huge sense of achievement, whether that’s competing at the highest level, or crossing the finishing line at your local race.”

Double Commonwealth Champion, Jodie Stimpson, said: “Women’s participation in sport has grown so much since I started and it’s amazing to be a part of a successful GB women’s team on the ITU circuit.

“Seeing so many women having a go at triathlon is amazing and I say to anyone that asks about triathlon: just have a go and you will be addicted!” 

Elite triathlete and world sprint triathlon champion, Alice Hector, recalls just how much the clothing and equipment has changed throughout the development of women’s triathlon.

“I remember my debut in 2002, racing in the most unflattering crop top and high-cut bottoms (not dissimilar to the men actually!) then riding around on a man-sized bicycle and wearing big cycling jerseys/T shirts in training. There wasn’t a lot of choice for the female athlete.

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“Now, the women’s triathlon market is thoroughly catered for and I love finding flattering race and training clothing. Swimming costumes and leggings in particular have got really funky and I find bright colours make me happy. And if you feel good, that’s a confidence booster before you’ve even stepped out the door.”