I am delighted to report that this week saw the first ever Pulse/Belpark joint triathlon summer camp! Based in Bancroft Park, behind Westpark Fitness Tallaght, we had 40 kids, evenly split boys/girls, with a mix of 12 from Belpark, 15 from Pulse and the rest from other clubs or unaffiliated. Over the past year, I’ve been co-ordinating our training events with Liz O’Connor from Pulse so that kids from both clubs can have as many training opportunities as possible, so when Gary Crossan (TI’s Leinster Club and Coach Development Officer) suggested to both of us that we arrange a summer camp, we were delighted to work together to make it happen.
The wonderful Gary Crossan was the head coach for the camp. Gary has done great work with all our kids throughout the year, and knows quite a few of them well enough by now to make sure they stay on their toes! As well as Gary, we were very lucky to have Maria McCambridge (no further introduction needed there!) as run coach, and from Belpark we had Ian Clarke, Helen French, Dave Power, and myself. Pulse provided the swim coach Alan McCormack, and plenty of others also, as you can see in the photo below. While the kids had great fun, they weren’t the only ones enjoying themselves – we adults all had a great time working together and with the kids.
My main role for the week was keeping track of the 40 kids at all times, while Liz looked after the camp logistics and the goodie bags. Gary put the kids through their paces each day, starting with a warm-up, and then bringing them through a mix of running drills, bike handling sessions, stretching, fun relays, long/short runs, circuits, and transition training. Distances varied as we had a mix of kids from 6 to 14, but they were kept busy at all times, with a great variety of training activities to keep them engaged. Gary found a novel way to improve their transition times by challenging them to reach a target line before Dave Power – who then had to run a penalty lap of the pitch, much to the delight of all the kids!
On the final day of the camp we had a mini-triathlon, with a pool swim, a cycle around Bancroft Park, and a run on the Tallaght Athletics Park. Some of the kids had participated in duathlons or aquathons before, but for most of them this was their first triathlon. Great excitement all round! We were so lucky with the weather – not a drop of rain during the camp, and some lovely sunshine. We even had the excitement of the Dublin Fire Brigade (thanks to Dave from Pulse) to cool them all down afterwards! There are loads more great photos and videos on the Belpark, Pulse and TI Facebook and Twitter feeds.
So it was a great success all round. The kids had lots of fun while improving their triathlon skills, and got to know new friends from other clubs as well. Many, many thanks to all those who volunteered their time to help out. It was a pleasure working with you all!