Nantwich Triathlon Club – Sustainability in Focus

Last week we shared a blog following Ailuna’s discussions with 4 times Manchester Marathon finisher, Paul McIntyre, founder of Nantwich Triathlon Club who goes to great lengths to ensure that training sustainably goes hand in hand. You can read this here.

Below, he goes into more detail on how he and his team achieve this. There are some great tips and advice so enjoy the read!

Can you tell us more about your sustainability efforts?

As mentioned above, we have a sustainability and wellbeing focus, so we are approaching things on a themed month-by-month basis. Here’s what we’ve done so far this year:

January – Habits

We took inspiration from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits and encouraged people to make slight changes to their lives for the better. It didn’t matter what changes but the focus was to encourage people to get into a “change” mindset or see others benefiting from the compounded benefits. This is something that Ailuna champions brilliantly.

February – Heart Health

In the UK, February is heart health month with lots of free collateral from the British Heart Foundation so we went with that. We encouraged people to learn First Aid and CPR. After that, we know that people often achieve some fitness in January so diet felt like the next good thing to look at. Although these don’t fit with the traditional description of the term “sustainability, these are foundations to sustainable changes in life. They’re all possible and simple so become powerful in a short period of time – which keeps people motivated rather than losing interest.

March – Trees

In the UK spring comes and so does (slightly!) better weather. Daffodils come out to signal this and signs of life start coming back to other plants too. So we focused on trees. In the UK there are Wildlife Trusts all over so we volunteered to help plant trees and hedgerows in our town that month. One morning a group of us planted 2,000 trees over 800 metres at the park we often train in. By advertising in our Facebook Group, we inspired one member, who happened to be a scout leader, to get more than 10 members of her scout group to join in. It got people who interact with our club, but who do not necessarily play sports, to become involved. This included our photographer, who is an injured runner, our treasurer and many young people. Even the MP turned up for his five minutes of fame!

April – Marathon Month!

On St Patrick’s Day (17th March) 2022, a Facebook post about Manchester Marathon’s partnership with Ailuna inspired Samantha, one of our club members to do her first ever Marathon with only 2 weeks’ notice! She’s only been running for two years and has lost just over 6 stone in the process – an amazing by-product of being part of our brilliant club. So April’s topic was “pure” sustainability and getting behind Ailuna.

April was a busy month because of the UK weather making outdoor sport more appealing but we did keep pushing and encouraging people to do sustainable things. Some cycled to training venues instead of driving where it was safe to. My builders had left behind a load of wood so I made some planters with it. Others in the club did similar things, such as planting BeeBombs in their gardens, because they had received them at a 10k run instead of a medal, similar to Ailuna’s carrot growing leaflets they handed out at the Manchester Marathon this year.

May – No Mow May

May 20th is World Bee Day and so with PR around No Mow May we would be foolish not to drive it! And we all know Manchester’s affiliation with the bee!
We’ve partnered with a local beekeeper and are encouraging members to make bee-bars (drinking stations for bees) and keep on planting things. We’ve also encouraged people to look out for swarms to rehome and also to create bug hotels in their gardens.

June – Go Wild!

And that brings us to this month, June! We have labelled it “Wild June”, to encourage the trend in the favourable weather and take full advantage of the outdoors. This should help us to increase club uptake as well as connect with nature.

Looking ahead – July and beyond

July is the Tour de France month, owned by Human Race’s parent company, ASO and one big tenet of our club is collaboration with local businesses. They give us discounts and benefits and we give them footfall and advertising. One business we collaborate with is Ginger and Pickles Tearooms. They have 3 stores near us and in July we will be holding a Tour de Ginger and Pickles. It’s free and people can cycle the 50 mile route between their stores. They can use the tearooms as an aid station for free water and bananas. They take a photo at each tearoom as their checkpoint which they post to social media and then get a free cake at the end of the ride instead of a medal. Everyone wins. If you’re interested in taking part, take a look at the route and details on Strava.

This summer and beyond, we are holding a local NotParkrun in a local park so that we can drive the local council to make a perimeter path. This is not only to attract a Parkrun to our town, but also to provide a place where people can learn to ride a bike in a traffic-free environment. The closest Parkrun is over 3 miles away and popular, but people tend to drive there, which is not ideal from a sustainability perspective.

The council built a traffic-free cycle lane which goes from our town all the way to the local Parkrun in a traffic free format so we are encouraging people to use it by operating a bike-bus. It’s something I’ve seen used for school children in Barcelona but could be repurposed for the mass movement of people for up to 5 miles. You can find out more about it here.

We’ll cycle the 3-4 miles to Parkrun, do the Parkrun and then cycle home. So this is a good brick session for a sprint triathlete or a good session for a novice runner or cyclist to gain confidence, have fun and use the car less.

Discover more about Ailuna and the impact you could have on the planet by visiting their website here.