What do Manchester, running, sustainability and carrot seeds have in common?
In conjunction with our sustainability partner Ailuna, we interviewed the founder of Nantwich Triathlon Club, Paul McIntyre. The club was formed in 2020 and since then, they have incorporated sustainability into their operations, as well as into each of their members’ lives. Some of their members participated in 2022’s Manchester Marathon, and we caught up with Paul to talk about all things Manchester, running, sustainability and carrot seeds…
Can you tell us more about the triathlon club you are part of?
We are a small but potent club based in Nantwich, Cheshire. We started during lockdown in September 2020 and by 2021 we had articulated our holistic strategy into a plan so that more people can engage and take a part in making the club the success that it soon became.
Alongside the obvious focus of being a sports club, we also have a long term plan to change the wider world, starting with the immediate world around us.
We’re fully on-board with sustainability but insist on keeping it practical and linked to wellbeing and pleasure because that is where lots of global attempts have gone wrong before and why it is even harder to get people to engage with it without economic pressure.
Why do you love Manchester?
Manchester is a wonderful city for its progressive nature and this continues to develop as the years pass. I’ve taken part in four Manchester Marathons so far and the atmosphere improves every time I take part. On marathon day you’re in an environment where the whole city wants participants to do their best and that is such a positive environment to be in.
If you were Mayor of Manchester for one year, what change would you make to make it a more sustainable and cleaner city than it already is?
I would work to add urban mobility to the school curriculum and perhaps twin the city with a Dutch counterpart so that the city is a catalyst for change. This could then be disseminated across the entire UK.
You say you’ve taken part in the Manchester Marathon four times. How does training for the Manchester Marathon fit in with or impact your triathlon training?
With Triathlon you tend to obtain a good level of general fitness anyway so some of us simply turn up and run to enjoy the experience, whilst others like to put in extra sessions and chase a time or PB. Finishing a marathon is great for athlete confidence and self-belief and puts you in a great position for subsequent triathlons such as Ironman which is 140.6 miles.
Why is sustainability so important to you?
Because the world needs to change but in a way which is practical for people. When people make the small changes at home then these are more sustainable to live with compared to some of the big blanket campaigns of the past. So we focus on the small but possible and this works because it is progressive and habit-forming. As a club we have also created an official post of Sustainability Lead because I think sports clubs need to collaborate with their surrounding communities as well as they can rather than simply turn up and train. Our Sustainability Lead is Trev White and will be at Manchester Marathon in 2023 for his first one!
Have you made any changes to your sustainable habits, especially, but not necessarily in relation to your training?
I certainly use plastic much less than I used to and try to buy less of it. A quick way to progress is to look into your own recycling bin because that shows you from your own home what you need to buy less of or look at reducing. It’s also good to ask if there is anything you can use a few times before you throw it away. For example, refilling shampoo or detergent bottles, or looking into whether anything you have could be upcycled rather than recycled.
Can you tell us about any of the work you’ve done using Ailuna as a tool?
When we were at Manchester Marathon, we collected a bundle of Ailuna flyers. This was partly to spread the word around Nantwich about Ailuna’s work, but also because each flyer contained carrot seeds!
We have also started using Ailuna as a guide for some of the sustainable actions we can take as a club and as individuals. We like the fact we can have our own community in the app so we can swap ideas and cheer each other on – just like on race day!
Why did you decide to take on the carrot seed project as a group?
We saw that those behind Ailuna are a good bunch of people who align well to the culture of Manchester as a city and Manchester Marathon. We see that concentrating on sustainability is the direction in which sports clubs like ours need to go. Therefore we decided to join in to support. Once you start one simple sustainable habit it is quite easy to do and it does feel good so I can foresee others enjoying using the Ailuna app too. It’s good to be true and honest and say that I do have some days where my sustainability habits do fail because they become impractical to maintain sometimes but overall they have improved.
What do you like about the Ailuna app?
I like that it is simple and actually practical. In the past many apps and ideas were just forgotten, because they are not practical to maintain. With Ailuna, you can set your own, realistic targets, and the habits are things that normal people can do. It is also good to do as a club or as a family. For us, it means we have talked about our sustainability habits more, which keeps them mindful and encouraging.
To find out more about Nantwich Triathlon Club, take a look at their website. If you’re a team, business or organisation that would like help with engaging and mobilising your team to build sustainable habits, get in touch with the Ailuna team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Discover more about Ailuna and the impact you could have on the planet by visiting their website here.