If you happen to spot a huge group of athletic types going through their paces, training down by the Brisbane River, it just might be the South Bank Tri club doing their regular fitness routine.
South Bank Tri club president Drew Standish, and a few close friends, set up the club for swimming, cycling and running in June 2010 with one main goal: to offer low cost, high quality adult triathlon training for those who cannot commit to regular sessions. Those who want a bit of a social scene too can find it with the club — what Drew refers to as their “fourth leg” of the triathlon race.
Originally, Drew was really into playing football. But after getting too many broken bones, as well as finding it hard to commit to a team sport, a friend suggested swimming. It eventually led him to doing triathlons. “As I got hooked straight away, I sat down with a few of my mates to discuss the possibility of creating a triathlon club, where you didn’t have to commit in the same way you do a team sport,” says Drew. To start with, they had to rope their wives into joining in case they didn’t get enough members for it to be considered a club. However, their worries were put to rest when on their launch night, 80 people signed up.
Nearly three years on and 280 members later, Drew is supported by a committed team for this thriving not-for-profit club which includes a director of coaching, social coordinators and merchandise officers. Having South Bank as the hub of the club suits them perfectly. “There are so many social avenues to make use of and it is great for both single people and families. After our once-a-month social ride, we all pile into the South Bank Surf Club for breakfast and after our most popular Thursday morning run session, we all head to My Sweetopia for coffee, about 60 of us all at once!”
With the support of several sponsors, the annual club fee is only $50, which gives members access to as many training sessions as they want. “Eight sessions are free each week with the remaining eight costing $10 each,” says Drew. Sessions include swimming, cycling and running, which make up the three parts of the triathlon race, plus strength and conditioning gym sessions specifically designed for triathletes.
Drew’s passion for the club is clear, not only by the amount of time he dedicates to it on top of raising his young family and working a nine to five office job, but by the fact that he does it because he gets a kick out of giving people an avenue to love the sport as much as he does. He does admit to being dreadful at getting up for the morning training sessions though. “Our members will tell you I’m terrible at it and I will tell you the same, but having a social club with supportive members motivates people to get up in the morning and start running.”
Newbies shouldn’t be afraid to join either. Drew reassures, “Of the 280 members this year, 110 of them are novice or absolute beginner and because the training sessions are lap based, no one has to worry about having to keep up with the fittest members.”
And boy do they have some pros. Eleven members took part in the ITU (International Triathlon Union) world championship in Auckland this year and two members recently took part in the Hawaiian Iron Man. The next big race the club is participating in is the Queensland Triathlon Series in Raby Bay. “Last year we finished second, so next time we’re hoping to go one better,” says Drew.
Words by Roisin Johnson | Images by Darlia Argyris