Couch potatoes and keep fitters alike are being encouraged to step up and take part in the borough’s first triathlon event which has been launched today (Monday 10 February 2014).
The exciting event will take place on Sunday 15 June 2014 and will offer residents full training sessions to support their attempt.
The idea for a triathlon came from Councillor Zahid Ali who is portfolio holder for Public Health and Protection with Walsall Council Coalition.
“I want people to set themselves a challenge and feel encouraged to take part,” he explained.
“We have seen a really good increase in the number of people who take part in physical activity and I want to build on this – as well as encourage those people who haven’t yet found a way to be more active that suits them and that they enjoy.
“Triathlons are great because of the range of activities they offer; there will be team entrants too so those who only want to do one activity can do so with their team mates covering the other stages.
“I think this event will give people a real fitness focus and if they sign up to take part they will be supported all the way. I want to encourage people to get fitter and have fun and make new friends while doing so. ”
The Sprint Triathlon will be staged at Oak Park Leisure Centre with a 400m swim, a 15km bike ride and a 5km run for entrants aged 15 and above. It will be open on a first come first served basis with a maximum of 200 race slots and people can enter as a team or as an individual.
There will be a £10 entry fee for the triathlon but everyone who takes part will get their cash back after the event.
There will also be “Try-Tri” sessions on 4 and 25 May to support entrants in their training for the event.
Councillor Ali added: “Excitement is definitely building for Walsall’s first triathlon.
“We want it to become one of the finest annual events in Walsall that will inspire people of all ages to take part in physical activity and make a real difference to their health and wellbeing.”
Councillor Anthony Harris, portfolio holder for leisure and culture, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to build on the real success we’ve had with raising physical activity rates, which the recent Active People survey has recently shown.
“And I echo Councillor Ali’s ambition to continue to build on this and get more people to exercise regularly.
“This event isn’t just about those who already exercise it’s about appealing to people who want to set themselves a fitness goal in 2014 - however large or small.”
Enrolment is online via www.walsall.gov.uk/walsall_triathlon and people who do not have internet access can visit their local libraries to register.
More than 11,500 extra people are taking part in regular weekly exercise in Walsall compared to seven years ago according to Sport England's latest yearly Active People survey.
The number of adults taking part in three blocks of 30 minutes exercise per week increased from 16 to 22 per cent of the population between 2006 and 2013. It also places Walsall as the second most improved authority in the West Midlands over the same period.