Farnham Triathlon Club Copyright © Farnham Triathlon Club (1985-2020)
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Club History

In 1985 the first Farnham Triathlon was held. Based around the Farnham Sports Centre, the event was organised by Ian Phelps, the then manager, and covered a mile swim (Ian was a keen swimmer) a 23 mile cycle and a 10 mile run. On a very hot day around 100 people competed in that first event.

It seemed a good idea at the time to try and form a club and at the event invitations were handed out to locals to come to a meeting the following week. An appearance on local radio by Ken Wood helped (Rod Mahon heard about us on the air waves). About 12 people turned up to the inaugural meeting and Farnham Triathlon Club (FTC) came into existence.

The club could only have started and continued through those first precarious months because of Ian's help. Our first pool hire was on a Sunday morning, £10.00 for an hour's swim. In those days we divided the pool costs by the number of swimmers. On one occasion there were only 4 of us!! However, in spite of the financial stringency's, the club went from strength to strength. A committee was formed and gradually, through newspaper reports and word of mouth the club grew.

About Photo 86

In those days membership consisted of a pretty mixed bag, mostly runners, a few cyclists and even fewer swimmers! Training outside of swimming tended to be fairly ad hoc. Probably the biggest breakthrough came when swimming sessions became more organised and that drew in more members when Wednesday and Friday sessions were added at Farnham. The existence of the fledgling British Triathlon Association (BTA) as a "slightly" more organised body also helped.

Over the years the club organised a number of triathlon events, principally a sprint triathlon of a 400 swim, 17 mile cycle and 4.5 mile run. Additionally the Farnham long course triathlon, remembered by some people for painful reasons, included a 1600m swim followed by a 37 mile cycle and a hilly 10 mile run. These events helped to generate interest in the club through local publicity, though sadly are now no more due to difficulties running a cycle route through an increasingly busy Farnham town centre.

Since the demise of the Farnham Triathlon, the club has continued to be involved in race organisation by assisting Paul Weavers and Hart District Council with one of the most popular early season triathlons in the South, the Hart Leisure Sprint Triathlon. The club has also organised two children’s triathlons from the same venue, Hart Leisure Centre in Church Crookham.

Everyone should appreciate that the club has always been run by a small number of people and would not exist if it wasn't for their efforts. The general membership does not see the work which goes on in the background or the deliberations on finance which ensure that the club survives.

Ken Wood (right) and Graham Wilson were the two people significantly responsible for the conception and early years of Farnham Triathlon Club. Ken’s vision and association with the BTA combined with Graham’s Army coaching skills in swimming and cycling provided the foundation on which the current club was built. Graham Wilson moved to America in 1993 where he carried on training and racing for triathlon and subsequently became a USAT Certified Coach and continues to run a successful triathlon coaching company.