Go Tri Something New In Leeds!

Go Tri Logo

For some time now, momentum has been growing behind triathlon. As a city, Leeds is fast becoming a hub for the sport. The construction of world class facilities, the development of the grassroots Go Tri programme to encourage new people into the sport and the success of the regions athletes all playing a significant part.

Take a look at what Go Tri has to offer in Leeds:

Go Tri Something New- Ladies beginner cycling sessions in New Wortley

Go Tri blog image 1  These sessions take place at New Wortley community centre and are targeted at beginners or those who would like to build up their confidence on a bike.

The group attending were all largely local to the Armley/ Bramley area. One lady hadn’t ridden a bike before and was a total beginner- she was keen to learn, so she was able to go out on rides with her partner. Other’s hadn’t been out on a bike for a few years and some were fairly confident riders. The ride leaders had to be really flexible in their approach to the sessions in order to accommodate all abilities.

With the support of British Triathlon we were able to access more bikes for week two and we saw the numbers increase. Over the first three weeks we’ve supported three none riders to successfully complete short rides, we’ve had women turn up with others having spoken positively about the session with their peers and you can already see the group forming friendships.

Go Tri blog image 2 Participants discussed signing up for the city ride in September and also a couple arranged to get together to the session on Monday nights at the Brownlee centre. The programme has already proved a hit with local women and with the excellent guidance from the ride leaders, introducing them to a range of different routes within easy reach of their community, the sessions are going from strength to strength.

To find out how you can get involved and for more information, visit: http://active.leeds.gov.uk/communitysport/Pages/Triathlon.aspx 

World Triathlon Series Leeds 2017

Go Tri blog image 3.png On the 10th and 11th of June, the World Triathlon Series was back in town for a second time. The event was bigger and better than before. The event village in Roundhay park went down a storm. Activity challenges, a big screen, event stalls and the odd freebie all helping to create a real family atmosphere.

Across the Leeds, in the city centre, people lined the streets to cheer on the elite and amateur athletes alike around the famous blue carpet finish in Millennium Square. Triathlon mania had definitely set in!

As the sun shone on the Sunday afternoon, some of the world’s best athletes descended on Roundhay park to tackle the unique challenge that Leeds offers. But before they’d even tipped their toes into the (Cold!) water, something extraordinary had already taken place.Go Tri blog image 5Over the course of the weekend people had come in their thousands to take on the triathlon challenge for themselves. Some were experienced triathletes, some were as young as 11 years old, some were para-triathletes, some had never been swimming in open water before and some were taking part in their first triathlon! It was quite a sight. Wave after wave of people of all ages and abilities swam, cycled and ran their hearts out. Some out to set a personal best, others just set out to finish.

Go Tri blog image 4  For some time now, momentum has been growing behind triathlon. As a city, Leeds is fast becoming a hub for the sport. The construction of world class facilities, the development of the grassroots Go Tri programme to encourage new people into the sport and the success of the region’s elite athletes all playing a significant part.

Come and be a part of it and Tri something New!

Leeds Girls Can – Couch to 5k – Kirkstall Abbey

Leeds girls can logo

Kirsty Midgley

No amount of planning could have prepared us for the overwhelming response to our first LGC Couch to 5k session at Kirkstall Abbey on the 20th of May. 116 enthusiastic, motivated ladies turned up to week one day one and we’ve consistently maintained 70 plus ladies per session since then.

Run leaders Natasha Hamlet and Leanne Lane lead the Thursday night session and Kirsty Midgley leads the Tuesday night session along with a handful of volunteer run leaders from clubs around Leeds.

Originally, we were worried that, while we were offering two lead sessions per week, one session would need to be run over the weekend in their own time. We were unsure if they would stick to this, thus putting the programme in jeopardy, our fears however were unfounded as the ladies arrange meet ups on Saturday and Sundays in various parks through the closed Facebook group.

I began my own running journey with the couch to 5k programme and I really wanted to help other ladies fall in love with running. I’ve gained so much confidence and benefits from running, I hope I can pass on just a fraction of this to each one of the ladies.

One of the biggest learning curves for me so far has been to watch each person and ensure we are giving them enough to encouragement and indeed enough of a challenge to keep them motivated and coming back week on week. For the faster ladies who sprint their runs we’ve brought in a pacemaker to teach them to pace their runs and control their breathing. For the slower ladies, we’ve started a buddy system to keep them motivated on their run.

By far the best part of running the group is the feedback from the ladies – their daily posts in the facebook group and seeing them struggle on day one of the run to comfortably running day three of the same run is inspiring.

 

Leeds Girls Can: Couch To 5K!

Leeds Girls Can blog image

It started with a meeting alongside Leeds Girls Can Ambassador’s and Run Leader’s- Natasha Hamlet and Kirsty Midgley. We wanted to discuss setting up a Couch to 5k beginners running group. We were all excited in sharing our passion to help get more women and girls active. After finalising logistics of the programme, we created a Facebook group and began promoting through social media and word of mouth. We received a lot of interest but assumed only a percentage of that would translate into actual ladies turning up. How wrong we were…

On the 21st of April 2017, I turned up ready to lead week 1 session 1, and was absolutely overwhelmed to be greeted by 116 women and girls. It was slightly chaotic to say the least. I certainly wasn’t expecting to have to shout the warm up to that many people, but somehow the other leaders and I got through it successfully. Over the next few weeks the numbers gradually stabilised to around 70 ladies. At the time I just thought we were getting into the swing of things and it kind of became the norm. Reflecting back now, I realise what an incredible achievement that was!

As the weeks continued to go by I were amazed at the level of commitment and determination I saw from the ladies. Although the leaders put on a regular Tuesday and Thursday session, the participants were expected to complete the third session of the week on their own. The Facebook group proved to be such a useful outlet and a place for the ladies to post about their achievements, to seek advice and support each other. Seeing ladies turn up at the sessions, week after week, and complete runs that they never imagined they could was inspiring to us all.

My running journey started back in 2005, following a similar Couch to 5k plan, and I have never looked back. I knew the Couch to 5k programme was a great tool in encouraging people to exercise and achieve their goals, but little did I think I would have a vital part to play in getting so many women active. As the ‘Pregnant Run Leader’, I was happy to lead the warm ups and cool downs. During the sessions you’d usually find me near the back walking, offering encouragement and chatting with the ladies. I thoroughly enjoyed every single session I was a part of, talking to some of the ladies and finding out their reasons for doing it was very inspiring and motivating for me.

So the 9 weeks flew by and the running distance continued to increase. It dawned on me the impact the group was having when Made in Leeds came down to film us, and show off the achievements of the group. At the final session I was able to attend, there were still around 35 ladies participating in 30 minute continuous running. I felt emotional thinking about the journey these women had achieved from struggling to run for a minute to doing it for a full half an hour!

I had an absolute blast with the Leeds Girls Can Couch to 5k ladies at Kirkstall Abbey. I am thankful to all the volunteer Run Leaders and Active Leeds Development Team for allowing me to be a part of such an inspiring and empowering thing. I’ve loved every minute of being part of this group and can truly say that I feel everyone who completed the programme is the epitome of #ThisGirlCan.

Ps. Watch this space for more Leeds Girls Can Couch to 5k programmes! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LeedGirlsCan to hear about more amazing opportunities you can get involved in.

From Crutches to Coast to Coast – My Cycling Journey, by Julia Davis

 

cycling blog images

Life before cycling- had you ever wanted to cycle before?

I have always liked keeping fit but in my 30’s I had a lot of health problems due to endometriosis, which meant years of no exercise. I had a number of operations, including a hysterectomy, and was advised to walk every day to help me recover.  I was unfit and felt worn down by everything. I started walking and gradually built in some jogging. This developed into running and before I knew it, I increased my distance until I could do a 5km Park Run.  I got stronger and fitter and joined the local running club. I had even signed up for a marathon because my training was going so well! My buzz came quickly crashing down shortly after when I had an accident and badly broke my ankle, and tore all my ligaments.

How did you first get into cycling?

Blog images 2 Five months after breaking my ankle, I was nowhere near being able to run and I was feeling very frustrated at being inactive again. I started to use my hybrid bike to exercise our lively dog as it was easier for me than walking. I enjoyed being out on a bike and found it didn’t aggravate my ankle too much.  My husband has always been a keen cyclist, and I always thought of it as his sport. But I woke up one day and decided I’d get a road bike and try cycling, so at least I could do something to help me get back to running.

Are there any barriers/challenges you have faced along your cycling journey?

I bought a road bike in the January sales and I can vividly remember my first attempt at going round the block. I felt very unstable and there was a lot to think about with brakes, gears and traffic. I could only manage with left hand turns as I was too scared to turn right and move across into the traffic! I also found it very cold and wasn’t sure it would be for me. I persevered and did a 10 mile bike ride, then 15, then 20 miles. I set myself the target of doing the 30 mile cafe ride at the cycling club, and felt a huge sense of achievement at getting to this milestone. I had a steep learning curve but I found other cyclists were supportive and happy to share advice. I started to cycle further and with faster groups, and after 6 months I completed my first 100 mile ride. It was then started to feel like a proper cyclist.

Tell us about Coast to Coast

My ankle was still causing me problems and last September I had an operation to remove bits of cartilage and bone spurs so it was back to cast, fracture boot and crutches. My husband signed up to do the Coast to Coast challenge,  150 miles in a day (from the West to the East coast). Even whilst I was on crutches I decided to sign up for it too! This gave me a real focus to get back on my bike. Just three months after surgery I was training and working to get my fitness back. It was hard to start at the beginning again, but my philosophy of just trying and doing a bit more each time gradually paid off. By Spring I was able to comfortably cycle distances of 70-80 miles. ‘Winter miles = summer smiles” was true for me.

How did you feel on completion of Coast to Coast?   

Blog images 3The journey of training for the event and doing this with my husband was as enjoyable as the event itself. But I had a huge sense of achievement when we successfully completed 150 miles from Seascale to Whitby. We climbed up many hills, including the well-known “Hardknott Pass”, starting and finishing together in 12 hours. It’s an achievement I feel extra proud of and especially because of the obstacles I’ve overcome.

Are there other proud cycling achievements?

In addition to completing the Coast to Coast, I am also competing in some of the Cycling Club challenges which include strava segments and a hill climbing league. I have also had a go at a Time Trial, a Circuit race and a road race. I never imagined I would do any of this and it has taken all of my courage to give these things a go. I’ve found there is a lot of learning and growth with each new challenge. It’s true that we tend to regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do.

Why did you decide to do the British Cyling Breeze Ride Leader course?

I only found out about Breeze when I was cycling regularly, and I wished I’d known about it when I first got started. I felt motivated to share my recent experiences of ‘being new’ to cycling with other women – to help them get on their bikes and improve their cycling. It’s a big leap from going round the block to joining a cycling club where the easiest rides are still 30 miles. Breeze offers a perfect solution – a safe, friendly, supportive environment for women to enjoy cycling together.

What are the next steps for you in cycling?

My next steps are to continue cycling with the club and competing in the various club challenges. I also plan to do some Sportives and trying more races – both Circuit and Road. I may even get my next level race licence.

For Breeze, I am looking forward to continuing to lead rides from Roundhay. I often lead slightly longer rides, 20-30 miles for ladies who cycle regularly or are looking for their next challenge.

I am also facilitating sessions at the Brownlee Centre closed road circuit. These provide a safe place for women to try road biking, improve their fitness and get advice from other Breeze champions.  It’s all free and bikes/helmets can be borrowed.

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When I first got on my road bike I had no idea I would achieve so much. I hope others will be inspired by my story to get out on their bikes, and that they will get as much enjoyment from it as I have!

This Girl Thought She Couldn’t… But #ThisGirlCan

Total warrior

“Hey Lou do you fancy doing the Total Warrior with us?” “What me?” “haha, no way the name its self tells me it will be way too difficult for me to do”. “Don’t worry we’ll have few training sessions, and it’s not until June so we’ve got a good 8 weeks to prepare, it will be a team effort” said my colleague Neil. “Yeh come on Lou we’re a team!” said another colleague Sam.

 

That little voice in my head started chirping up, “you’ll let the team down, you won’t be able to get all the way round the course, and you’ll be the office joke…

 

As a member of the Active Leeds team and lead officer for Leeds Girls Can. It is my role to promote and educate the benefits of physical activity to people in the community. My aim is to provide opportunities for people who are inactive  (not taking part in at least 30 minutes of physical activity a week). I felt it only my duty to practice what I preach and step outside of my comfort zone and take this challenge on with an ‘I can do this attitude’.

 

So a couple of days later my colleague Rich, sent us all a link to the Total Warrior course and the 30 challenging obstacles over the 12km distance. It looked both exciting and scary all at the same time. As I viewed obstacles such as the ‘Worm Muncher’ – 50 feet of mud that we would crawl through with only 1 foot of space between the floor and the barbed wire. ‘Peaks of Pain’ – a 15 foot wall that we had to get up and over using a 4 foot rope. OMG! What had I got myself into?

 

I took full advantage of the ad hoc runs sessions with my colleagues, I was always the one lagging behind, “get used to this guys”, I’d say.

 

The best training session was 3 days before the big day, it was a gorgeous sunny day and Ross or Neil led the run – they couldn’t decide between them who was leading! The plan was to run a few kilometres and then someone would suggest 10 different exercise reps.  So after a Burpees and press ups, it was my turn to suggest an exercise; “let’s roll down the hill, like you did when you were a child”, “no way, that’s not an exercise!” “Come on …I took part in your challenges” I whined. A few rolls and dizzy spells later and everyone was laughing and joking. Hay fever attacked a few, but the whole session had definitely shown we had team spirit!

 

Saturday 25th June arrived. I was taped up like a real athlete. We all wore blue t-shirts – “Blue Army” – the race numbers were pinned to our fronts and our head bands were slapped onto our heads. We were tattooed up total warrior style, and we were in character from beginning to end.

 

It was an amazing experience, squelching through the mud up to my waist, slipping and sliding, giggling all the way through. The day was filled with wading through water, climbing up walls sliding down hills… I took on challenges that I had never faced before and conquered them with a smile on my face.

 

Team Active UTD – “Blue Army” – started at the back of the last wave and arrived over the finish line 2hrs 35 minutes, hand in hand, chanting “Blue Army” – we finished 154th. We downed our free can of ice cold beer, danced along to the event music, while the heat of the sun dried our mud packed bodies. Then it was on to the next team event, a few cheeky cocktails and a meal in Chapel Allerton to round off an amazing day.

 

Total Warrior sounds like the hardest course to take on, but with a bit of self-belief, support from my colleagues and friends, it was possible. We are already trying to decide what our next team challenge will be. I overcame this challenge, and if I can, you can too!

#ThisGirlCan

Synchronised Swimming Success for City of Leeds!

The City of Leeds Synchronised Swimming team enjoyed great success at the Swim England National Synchronised Swimming Championships in April, winning a grand total of seven medals!

Champs2017

Sarah Speers, Leeds Synchronised Swimming Development Coach, tells us a bit more about the excitement and achievement of the day…

“We have had our sights firmly on the British Championships for the past 12 months. At last year’s competition the club made the podium in Tech Team, Figures and Free solo. These were the best results the club had ever had – medalling in a team event was a first, and so the annual plan 2016-17 focused on taking this success further.

When we went to Budapest to compete in November, we swam the routines we would be entering at Champs, knowing that practicing these at competition is crucial for feedback and to make improvements. The swimmers worked really hard on camps in the holidays to bring the teams together and improve the execution and scores, and have benefitted from psychology workshops to prepare, in partnership with Leeds Beckett University.

Medalling in every event entered was an amazing achievement. After improving in the combination team by 6 whole marks from last year, and medalling for the first time in this event, we knew we had done the preparation required, and the scores and medals kept coming in! Two of the swimmers (Rebecca Richardson & Millicent Costello) are now working towards international competitions with the England Talent Squad.”

The medal results in order of the competition were:

Bronze- Junior Figures – Rebecca Richardson

Silver – Technical Solo – Rebecca Richardson

Bronze – Combination Team

Bronze – Free Solo – Rebecca Richardson

Bronze – Technical Team

Silver – Free Duet – Rebecca Richardson and Millicent Costello

Bronze – Free Team

City of Leeds was represented by: Jessica Arnold, Rosie Barrington, Samantha Breen, Olivia Burton, Bethany Caudwell, Millicent Costello, Isobel Davies, Georgia Fielding, Ellie Jefferson, Chloe McLelland, Rebecca Richardson and Alyssa Ward.

Leeds Disability Sport News – February 2017

Please see below for the latest disability sport news this month in Leeds and beyond:

  • Leeds Sports Awards tickets are still available, with discounted Leeds Sports Club member tickets also for sale. The event is taking place at the First Direct Arena on Tuesday 7th March 2017.
  • DSY Annual Awards Dinner will be held at The Centenary Pavilion, Elland Rd on Friday 24th March 2017. The price of the event- a celebration of disability sporting achievement, participation and volunteering- remains £30 per person, to include four course meal, speeches, entertainment and raffle. Nominations have now closed but tickets still available.
  • FA Grow the Game Funding is available to apply for from now until Wednesday 29th March 2017. The following types of football teams are eligible for a grant: Male teams – Under-14s to adult, Female teams – Under-7s to adult and Disability teams.
  • Wheelchair Tennis CPD is taking place in Leeds at the John Charles Centre for Sport (Tennis Centre) on the 24th April 2017. This is aimed at accredited level 2 and above coaches who would like to develop their skills to work more effectively with wheelchair tennis players.
  • Visually Impaired and Blind football training sessions are being delivered at the John Charles Centre for Sport regularly in conjunction with the Leeds United Foundation. For details of the next sessions please contact: anthony.hall@leedsunited.com