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Spotlight on Bedford: Where and how to become a Triathlete!

If you are thinking about entering your first triathlon, Bedford is a great place to train! Here’s why:

Let’s start with the first discipline: swimming

For any budding triathlete the open water swim can seem like a daunting proposition. It’s often the leg that is the most feared. But don’t worry, help is at hand. Bedford boasts some fantastic pools (when they are open). Robinson pool is one of the largest pools at 33metres long. The lanes swimming sessions are perfect for building up stamina and confidence. For an outdoor experience but with the safety of lifeguards Woburn Lido (unheated) offers a great stepping stone between pool and lake/river. For swimmers who are ready to brave the great outdoors there are a number of lakes available and the Great River Ouse offers some fantastic long stretches of river to train in. These include Great Barford, Felmersham and Olney. Ensure you follow appropriate safety guidelines and never swim alone.

For wanna-be triathletes Bedford Harriers offers pool based coached training sessions throughout the winter at Trinity pool on a Saturday mornings and Tuesday evenings. For more information see contact details below. There are also numerous coaches that offer open water swimming lakeside to help you build open water confidence and experience. Again, see details below.

Box End Water sports offers lake swimming, which you can book online. If you’d like to travel further afield we run our own lake at Merchant Taylors Lake, Northwood and offer coached session for beginners.

Running 

For runners who don’t like hills or traffic there are plenty of pancake-flat, traffic-free routes to take advantage of to help build endurance and speed. The town has lots of fantastic flat running routes alongside the beautiful river, leading all the way out to Danish camp with laps of the stunning lake at Priory Marina available if extra miles are needed. These paths all link up and offer runners uninterrupted running in a fantastic natural environment. For those that are looking for hills you have to search a bit harder, but they can be found in Bedford cemetery hill which lends itself perfectly to those hill sprints. Once outside of Bedford there are plenty of rolling hills for training in – ideal for Cross Country or trail runs.

If you want to improve your running as part of your triathlon journey Bedford has several clubs you can join. See details below.

Cycling 

Gaining cycling experience and riding on the road can often be a barrier to starting triathlon, especially if you haven’t ridden a bike since you were a child! However Bedford is surrounded by lots of quiet country roads providing an ideal environment to practice, gain confidence and experience. Bedford has a fantastic bike shop, Flamme Rouge which offers regular rides as well as great gear. (also see our article on top beginner bikes for Triathlon!)

There’s also Beds Road Cycling Club (BRCC) which has a fantastic community and you’ll be sure to find a riding buddy of a similar speed. During the summer the BRCC Time Trials (either 11.3 or 10 miles) on a circuit from Cople offer the perfect opportunity to improve your speed in racing conditions. (it’s a bit like parkrun but on a bike!)

Your first race 

If you are looking for your first triathlon in Bedford there’s plenty of options in 2021. Firstly, you could start with a duathlon (so Triathlon but without the getting wet in the water bit!)

Box End Active Swim and Aquathlon, 2nd July. Test yourself over two of the three triathlon disciplines, with a 500m or 1km swim, followed by a flat 2.5km or undulating 5km off-road trail run.

Bedford Autodrome Duathlon, 11th April. Fast, flat and traffic-free (perfect for beginners!) Yes, there will be some fast athletes at this race, but don’t let that put you off – there will be athletes of all ability there. The nature of this course means there is lots of space for everyone.

Bedfordshire Triathlon, 30th May. Why not compete where you train – this brand-new triathlon at Priory Park marina is ideal for first-timers. In a beautiful environment this race offers you traffic-free, flat running and cycling on quiet country roads. There are also team relay options and aquabike options.

Box End Triathlons, 20th June, 1st August, 4/5th September. This purpose-built facility with a stunning lake offers immaculate water quality and scenic run route all on site. With multiple opportunities to race you can see how you improve throughout the season.

Stewartby Triathlon, 11th July. Located at the Stewartby Sailing Club, you will be treated to a dip in the beautiful lake waters, followed by a very fast, flat, lapped road bike course (in fact we’d say it’s the fastest triathlon road bike leg in the country!), finishing with a scenic, traffic-free run on paths alongside the lake into Marston Vale Country Park. Options available for Standard and Sprint, individual and relay, triathlon and aquabike.

Bedford Triathlon, 8th August. (hosted by Bedford Harriers) A river swim alongside the magnificent Embankment is followed by a fast bike route in the Bedfordshire countryside and a flat three lap run along the river and around Russell Park. Both the swim and run are excellent areas for supporters to see and cheer you on.

St Neots Tri series, 16th May, 8th August, 12th September. Watch your time improves throughout the season by completing a series in St. Neots. With super-sprint options these are great races to start your triathlon journey.

Grafham Tri, 6th June. If you fancy a challenge this middle distance triathlon is in the beautiful setting of Grafham Waters. With aquabike options available. The Australian style exit in the swim (you have to get out the water and run round a marker before getting back in and swimming a second lap) is great for spectators to cheer you on!

With so many races in and around Bedford – which one will be your first?!

Feel free to drop us a message on Facebook or Instagram if you would like any more advice or directions when it comes to taking part in a triathlon near Bedford!

Already started training for one of these events? Tag us in a photo and let us know how you’re getting on!

Clubs/ Contacts

Triathlon clubs: 

https://www.bedfordharriers.co.uk/embankment_5.asp

OWS coaching:

http://www.trainwithross.co.uk/open-water.html

https://www.swim-plus.com/

http://www.ironmatecoaching.co.uk/open-water-swimming-coaching/

Running clubs:

https://www.bedfordharriers.co.uk/

https://www.fetcheveryone.com/clubs-view.php?id=3213

http://bedfordandcountyac.org.uk/

Newly formed: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thismumrunsbedford/

Cycling:

https://www.flammerouge.cc/

https://www.bedsroad.org/

https://icycle.cc/

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