Oxford Tri Club, The Early Years.
It all started during long off road run discussions by some members of Kidlington Running Club. Mike VanOudtshorn had done a triathlon and was taken by it and was trying to persuade Mike Dunmore to try a Tri!
Eventually he agreed and was taken by the relatively new sport. It was decided to form a club and an advertisement was put in the Oxford Mail to see if anyone else was interested.
Six people turned up to the inaugural meeting and a committee was formed. Those six were Mike Vanoudtshorn, Kevin Mayo, Jonathon Long, Jeremy Long and Rab McNulty and Mike Dunmore.
The first race entered as a club was a Triathlon in Wroughton near Swindon, and Oxford Triathlon Club, as it was known then, came second club to the then mighty Total Fitness Triathlon Club.
All this happened in 1988, and the club has gone from strength to strength since then. Very soon we had 50 members, which for a minority sport in its infancy was all we thought we’d get!
Rab McNulty organised the first BaRTT race although we called them Rab races after him, and run and bike! We had one a month on a Sunday at different venues, mainly through the winter months. We then decided to run them as a summer series on Tuesday nights, again once a month. After a few years the numbers started to dwindle, although the club membership was still growing. We discussed it at a committee meeting and Rab came up with this hairbrained scheme to run it every two weeks, which we did and it took off. The rest is history.
Our first club swims were at Kidlington pool, Monday nights I think and soon after that we were granted use of the Dragon School pool on Friday nights. It was open air in those days.
We had a close relationship with the Dragon School back then and when they built the new indoor pool we had use of the pool on Monday nights for coached sessions, and we had a barefoot run session pre swim.
In the meantime Kidlington pool closed for refurbishment and so we used a couple of lanes at Bicester pool.
Open water swimming was the next thing to sort, and thanks to Rob Linnel’s negotiating skills we had the use of a lake at Cassington. We started with the small lake but very soon graduated to the much larger one next door with an island to swim round.
It was here we started the pre Blenheim swims to correspond with the first Blenheim triathlon. These soon took off and we had to cap them at 60 swimmers each Saturday morning.
We also ran a club triathlon event for the members from the lake, the first with an open water swim.