Triathlon started in the mid 1970's in America, but really took off with the Ironman in Hawaii which was first held in 1978. The first race in the UK was at Reading in 1983.

In 1984 an ex-paratrooper from Stamford, called Graham McLeod decided to organise an Ironman triathlon at Tallington Lakes. This proved a success, and the following year, the venue was switched to Ferry Meadows in Peterborough. There was initial interest in this Ironman race from some local Peterborough athletes, notably Steve Cox and Chris Boon, who were both lifeguards at the regional pool and the Lido. A meeting was organised to form a club in Peterborough to train for the Ironman and to meet like-minded people. This meeting took place in February 1985 at the museum, and the club was inaugurated. The meeting was attended and witnessed by Councillor Ken Winfrey. Laurie Miles also joined. He was to organise the Peterborough Marathon later that year, and was to become the chairman of PACTRAC.

The club then organised a number of mini triathlons and training sessions. Harold Frobisher was contacted, and joined the fold. He was a veteran of a number of Hawaii Ironman races, and fortunately for PACTRAC, he was the master in charge of the swimming pool at Oundle School. This 50-yard pool proved to be the perfect swim venue for PACTRAC's aspiring triathletes, and has continued to be the choice of venue ever since, providing the stability for the club to grow. The Ironman race duly took place in Ferry Meadows on 30th June, 1985 with 6 club members taking part. A smaller triathlon was also organised on the same day, and this attracted a lot of local interest/support/participation.

The club became very active, organising mini triathlons in the summer around the Lido pool in Peterborough; and starting an inter-club series with the Bedford, Leicester and Cambridge triathlon clubs. Various training weekends followed.

The club has seen a big turnover of members since those early days, with one founding member, Steve Hope, still present, and another, Paul Gallagher, having rejoined. Members have since gone on to compete in a number of events abroad, including World and European Championships, and full Ironman races. Members compete all over the country in the most prestigious races, and also in the national championship races every year.

The club is one of the most active in the country organising 10-15 races a year for its members, all involving at least 2 disciplines. In addition there are also 6 Frostbite 5-mile runs between October and March, in the local winter running league.

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What is Triathlon?

Triathlon is a multi sport event and involves swimming, cycling and running over various distances. Triathletes compete for fastest overall course time, including timed "transitions" between the individual swim, bike, and run components.

Triathlon races vary in distance. The distances are Sprint distance (750 m swim, 20 km bike, 5 km run), Intermediate/Standard/Olympic distance (1.5 km swim, 40 km ride, 10 km run), Long Course/Half Ironman/70.3 (1.9 km swim, 90 km ride, 21.1 km run), and Ironman (3.8 km swim, 180 km ride, and a marathon: 42.2 km run).Transition areas are placed between the swim and bike segments (T1), and between the bike and run segments (T2). This is where you change for the next leg of the race. The time spent in T1 and T2 are included in the overall time of the race.


As a beginner you will hear lots of different terms used and below is a list of the most popular expressions explained...

  • Aerobars/tribars: added to the bikes handlebars in order to achieve a more aerodynamic position whilst cycling
  • Age grouper: triathlete who is not a professional (elite) but is racing within his or hers defined age group. This can even be for Great Britain in an international age group race if you qualify.
  • Drafting: the action of swimming or cycling behind or to the side of another competitor to go faster for less effort. In the cycle leg of the race, drafting is legal for Elites but not for age groupers. In swimming,anyone is allowed to draft.
  • Brick: training session comprising a cycle then a run, or a swim and then a cycle designed to build strength of the transitions from one sport to another.
  • Elastic laces: elastic shoelaces, enabling athletes to pull their running shoes on in T2 for a faster time
  • Mount/dismount: getting on and off the bike at the start and finish of the bike leg, also the name for the physical line at which athletes must mount and dismount
  • Race belt: an elastic belt to which the race number is attached to save you using safety pins.
  • Racking: the action of setting up your bike so it is ready for you after the swim
  • T1: transition one, the section of the race between the swim and the bike
  • T2: transition two, the section of the race between the bike and the run
  • Transition: the name for the area in which athletes rack their bikes and transition from swim to run, and run to bike
  • Tri suit: an all-in-one race suit worn by men or women for the entire race, making it unnecessary to add or remove clothing during a triathlon

This should be all you need to know to talk like a PRO ;-)

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Terry Murphy
Sara Pearce
Sue McLeod
Steve Hope
Scott McLeod
see the section on the Training page

Club Constitution