Meet the Triathlon Committee

Clare Eastop

I started running with Strider’s Beginners in January 2017 and remember the first AGM; looking at the tri-section as if they were strange for wanting to swim in lakes and rivers for fun! I attended various 10k races and then during August 2017, my husband bought us second-hand road bikes and we joined the beginner’s rides. After a few outings, we were inspired to commence swimming lessons in January 2018.
My first tri was Leeds Castle’s Sprint in June 2018, where I finished 75th woman - 10th in my age group. Un-deterred by the duck-poop-filled moat, I was left feeling exhilarated and on ‘cloud 9’ for a good few weeks to follow. I had run the Folkestone and Hastings half marathons and also endured the mighty Beachy Head marathon – but running alone doesn’t fill me with the same buzz; triathlon definitely has the feel-good-factor.
I took part in the Hever Castle Olympic Distance Tri in September 2017 but unfortunately omitted a whole loop of the bike course (lesson learnt; check route) and was left feeling like an utter failure. I went on to complete the Grafman Middle-Distance Tri in May 2018 – finishing (inc. all of the bike route this time!) 70th woman - 15th in age group. Then came the penultimate… July 2019, Ironman Hamburg. I managed to finish with just 8 minutes to spare; a lovely swim, gruelling hot bike and a 26.2 speed-walk (no running, as I hurt my calf on the bike). On completion, I swore never to do another. However, upon watching the highlights video the next day… we all agreed we’d book Vichy 2021!
Quite simply – I love being part of this wonderful group; they are the most supportive and inspirational bunch of people I have had the fortune to meet. I would encourage anyone to get involved.
Lucy Hewett

Having run for many years on her own, Lucy always considered clubs for elite people only but soon changed her mind when she joined the Striders in November 2014 and realised what a friendly, helpful bunch they were! With running as her first love, bike growing as her new love and always struggling with the swim Lucy tapped into the knowledge of other members and took advantage of the clubs training sessions in the 3 disciplines before she attempted her first half triathlon in May 2015…The Marshman at Lydd.

Since then Lucy has been an active member of the club taking part in 5 Aquathons; 3 Duathlons; 3 Sprint Tris; 1 Olympic; 3 Half Tris; 5 Half Marathons; Brighton Marathon (GFA place London); London Marathon (GFA place London); Ride 100 & Ironman Full Triathlon Vichy. Lucy was delighted to be presented with Strider of the Year and Joint Triathlete of the Year (shared with the amazing Lynne Hacon) at the club awards in 2017. If I can be of any help with anything please ask! 🙂
Andy Howes

It is high time I gave something back to this wonderful club and as such, I am incredibly proud and humbled to be accepted on to the Tri Committee. I very much look forward to contributing to a group focused on making the Tri-Section the best it can be.
Like many, I had an epiphany several years ago where I wanted to get myself in to ‘some kind of shape’. Having bought myself a swanky new pair of trainers, I started to run, not very far, but a run I did. This progressed to Parkrun, which I still maintain is a fantastic way to get fit with a wonderful support network of like-minded people.
Parkrun quickly progressed to club running! Joining the Striders four years ago, I went straight into Emma’s C group and felt incredibly welcomed by everybody in the group. Club run started to grow arms and legs and before you know it, I am entering 10k races, 10-mile races half marathons and would you believe……. Marathons!
After picking up a niggling injury, it was recommended that I get a bike so I could cross-train and take the stress off my injury! It was at this point I was introduced to the Tri-Side!! After borrowing a bike for a few rides, I bought my first bike and joined the social rides. The social rides got faster and faster the more we practiced. Next thing you find yourself in the water at Swallows, followed by Leybourne lakes swimming up to 2 or 3k just for the fun of it. These training sessions turned into Triathlons covering a Sprint, Olympic, Half Distance culminating with a Full Distance Ironman in Hamburg 2019.
It is simply down to the support and comradery of this fantastic club that got me to the start line in Hamburg and ultimately got me over the finish line. I have a background of team sports and was never sure that ‘running’ or ‘Triathlon’ would be for me……. How wrong was I? This club is awesome, and I would recommend anybody on the running side to join us in the Tri-Section for a social ride or a swim to truly understand the meaning of togetherness and unrivaled support in your own personal pursuit in finding out more around Triathlon, Duathlon or Aquathon.
Not bad for the fat-lad at the back! If I can do it, anybody can!!
Rachel Ward

Hi everyone, my name is Rachel Ward. I am 45 and a mother of 2. My other half, Andy Baptie, and I joined the Sittingbourne Striders Tri in 2016.

Having joined the Sittingbourne Striders 3 years earlier, I was ready for a new challenge and Triathlon seemed like a natural progression.

I loved it instantly - everyone was very welcoming, supportive and inclusive. I remember my first ride to Headcorn and up Hollingbourne Hill - I thought my legs were going to combust!!

My first triathlon was a Go Tri event in Herne Bay - lots of fun and very well supported. I highly recommend them for anyone wanting to give triathlon a go. I then did the Tonbridge Sprint, Cotswolds Sprint, Outlaw Half, Leeds Castle Sprint, and Bewl Sprint. I like the Sprint distance!!

I was asked to join the Tri committee in late 2016 and have the (somewhat dubious) honour of publishing the Championship results this year.

I have not been quite so busy this year, (the dreaded plantar fasciitis) At least I can still swim and ride my bike. I did Leeds Castle (Sprint) in June and was most surprised to achieve 3rd in my age cat.

I hope to do another triathlon this year and maybe progress to a Standard distance at some point. Ironman distances do not appeal at the moment!!

Paul Williams

Paul has been a member of the Striders since 2000 and after many years of road racing including currently 37 marathons and many more Half Marathons started his triathlon journey with a few pool based races at Whiteoak in Swanley. 5 years ago he started competing in open water events and won his age group at the Outlaw Middle Distance event on his debut at the distance. He has also completed the IM 70.3 in Lanzarote.
Paul was Club chairman for 5 1/2 years from 2012 and although no longer resident in Sittingbourne remains passionate about the club and as one of the more senior (in age) members hopes he acts as a role model to others to prove that age is not a barrier.


Ride Leader First Aiders

Qualification: First aid at work certificate
Valid 11/11/2017-11/11/2020

Neil HaconRoss PilcherLucy Hewett
Bradley ClaytonPaul BowditchLynne Hacon