Tri50’s November Swim Camp by Liz Begley

6.15 am – the alarm goes, and the kettle’s on for pre-swim tea and toast. We meet at 7.30 and walk to the beach, with wetsuits, tow floats, swim-hats and goggles. Before yesterday I had never put my face in the sea, and today I managed 750m, in something resembling front crawl. It’s good to still be learning at 63 ! Then a short run, a shower and a massive breakfast – definitely felt I’d earned it.

Sandra’s talk today was about training, using heart rate zones, and how to allocate training sessions to get the right balance of longer easier sessions and shorter harder sessions. Both are essential to build fitness and endurance, so that gives food for thought, and hopefully will help in planning training sessions.

Then we were straight into the pool, for drills and swimming. I was glad of the wetsuit today, as the water was slightly chilly. I definitely need to practice the drills!

Then another shower, more tea and a snack, ready for upper body and core exercises, and stretches.

Dinner will be very welcome. The food is good, and it’s great to chat about the day, about our sport, and our lives in general. I feel I’ve made some real friends.

It’s a busy day, but I feel I’ve learned so much, and hopefully my swimming will start to improve. Our coaches, Jo, Sandra and Toni are so knowledgeable and exceptionally patient and encouraging, especially for those of us who are less confident swimmers.

Day 2 at Tri50’s November Swim Camp by Sarah Macdonald

Day two of the camp and more hard work – but good fun learning with Jo, Sandra and Toni. So many incredibly important teaching points – from which I’m sure we’ll remember a few each when tested (aagghh) that make such a difference when swimming in the warm but (today) choppy water off the coast of Teguise.

Good food again – pardon the pun – for thought re aspects of nutrition at today’s workshop. Pleasing to discuss this moving and thought provoking subject in such an informal way. Also lovely swapping recipes in the hours that followed.

Looking forward to tomorrow and learning so much more.

Tri50 Swim Camp 2018


Day’s 1 & 2 at Tri50’s November Swim Camp by Chris Marchand

Here I am back at at the Tri50 swim camp for the 2nd year running and today was Day 1.

Last year I was the sole man but this year it’s a mixed group of like minded people who all want to improve their swimming skills, so where better than a Tri50 swim camp in Lanzarote in a lovely warm climate.

Today we swam around 3000m over a few hours which included a filming session which is a brilliant way to see where you are going wrong!! and lots of swim coaching from the 3 fantastic coaches Jo, Sandra and Toni ..So much technique to learn in swimming but there is bucket loads of help from the team that is really helpful and immediately helps to get you swimming so much better, and a feeling that progress is being made, and that was after day 1 .

Day 2 at 7.30am and some sea swimming skills that started poolside and then we all walked down to the sea to have 500m sea swim that for some of the group was their first time swimming in the sea. As usual our coaches were on hand with great advice and reassurance, then early pm more pool swimming.

What a great way to spend 5 days with Tri50 at a great location refining our swimming skills and being coached by a fantastic coaching team.Day 3 beckons with more sea swimming at 7.30am !!

Can’t recommend it enough !

My light bulb moment:

This article was first published on 13th February 2018 by Emma Rowley

My light bulb moment: Triathlon company founder says she wanted to help train mature athletes after hearing people say they were ‘too old for this’

  • Jo Lewis, 62, is co-founder of Tri50, which trains mature athletes for triathlons
  • She said she’s always used exercise to give her the energy she wants in life
  • Her light bulb moment came when she was away at a training camp in 2010 

Jo Lewis, 62, is the co-founder of Tri50, which trains mature athletes for triathlons. 

She lives in Buckinghamshire with her partner, Ted, who is retired from the RAF, and has two adult sons.

I’d always said to myself, I hope I stay fit. When I was growing up, my mum was always so unwell.

She had various health problems and became an alcoholic, while my father, a doctor, tried to keep the family together. When she died at 60 of a cerebral haemorrhage, she was about to start kidney dialysis and had very high blood pressure.

I vowed that I would never follow her into hospital — and I never have, apart from when I had my two boys. When they were young, I played squash and tennis, as well as swimming and running, and worked as a swimming coach. I’ve always used exercise to give me the energy I want in life.

Jo Lewis, 62, is co-founder of company Tri50, which trains mature athletes for triathlons

Aged 47, I had my fastest times as a runner, but my father told me: ‘It’s not so good for those joints.’

I got a bike, and started dabbling in triathlons. I loved it. With triathlon’s three sports (swimming, cycling and running), you can’t be bored.


This article was first published on 2nd February 2018 by Tabatha Fabray

Are you passionate about health and fitness? Not sure how and where to start? Do you fancy a new and exciting physical challenge for 2018? Or do you simply want the opportunity to broaden your horizons and make new friends?

Triathlons are set to be a massive fitness trend this year, with a surge in mature athletes signing up to push themselves to their limits. If you’re 50+ and thinking this might not be for you, we’re here to tell you otherwise.

A standard distance triathlon consists of three disciplines; swimming, cycling and running. Designed to test your endurance, physical fitness and mental strength, taking part in a triathlon is no light undertaking. However, the rewards and sense of achievement on completion are apparently unrivalled.

I spoke to Jo Lewis, co-founder of Tri50, which offers triathlon training days, camps and workshops specifically designed for mature male and female aspiring athletes, to see what the attraction is. I met up with Jo last week, and this is what she had to say:

Hi Jo, let’s start at the beginning – what gave you the idea for Tri50?
“It was a pure lightbulb moment. I was away on a Level 3 triathlon coaching course weekend in 2010 when I sat up in bed and realised there must be a niche market for mature athletes in triathlon.

“I’d witnessed first-hand enthusiastic athletes over 50 becoming demoralised when training with their younger counterparts, and wished to create a safe, welcoming and caring environment in which to train and become healthier at their pace, which also met their specific needs as more mature athletes. Tri50 was born.”

There are many elements of this sport that appeal to the mature individual; it’s a multi-discipline sport that embraces all the different muscle groups

What’s the attraction of a triathlon for over-50s?
“There are many elements of this sport that appeal to the mature individual; it’s a multi-discipline sport that embraces all the different muscle groups. This means you’re not constantly overloading the same joints and muscles, thereby reducing the risk of injury compared to a single sport. Also, don’t forget the opportunity to meet new people with similar interests to your own and, most importantly, the variety makes it fabulous fun!”

Can you tell us a bit about what you offer at Tri50?
“My fellow coach and co-founder Sandra and I offer a wide variety of services, including swim camps, triathlon camps, and coaching. There’s something for all age groups and the camps take place in some amazing locations.”

(Details of these below)

All we ask is that athletes are willing and have passion, motivation and an enthusiasm to try something new

Some of our readers may be thinking, ‘Can I do this? I have limited or no experience’. What would you say to them?
“One doesn’t need to be an amazing athlete, have previous experience with the sport, or be in peak physical condition; all we ask is that athletes are willing and have passion, motivation and an enthusiasm to try something new.

“Tri50’s current most mature athlete is 75 years old and thriving. Many 50 and 60-year-olds continue to pass through our hands, and firm friendships have been made, which is wonderful to witness.

“Both mature ourselves, Sandra and I will nurture you as you learn, and are relentlessly patient in helping you set and achieve your goals, whatever they may be. I coached Theresa May (and her husband) as a total beginner for many years (nine, to be exact!). Theresa even managed to complete an underwater handstand!”

Jo Lewis and Sandra Barden – L3 Triathlon Coaches, Coach Educators and GB current Age-Group Competitors

How can our readers get involved in this sport?
“Join a local leisure centre (try and find one you enjoy attending) where you know you’ll feel comfortable and welcome.

“Seek the advice of a qualified triathlon coach – not only will they be able to pass on years of experience, but they’ll ensure that individuals don’t overstretch their body’s capabilities, and will know how to take them at their own pace, alongside taking them out of their comfort zone, one step at a time.

“Try aqua jogging or swimming first – these activities are a great way to build up your fitness and endurance levels, while being low-impact and putting less strain on your body.

“Dust off one’s old shopping bike, sitting in the garage, and just enjoy cycling, which is another great way to increase your fitness while being low impact. Ladies can join ‘Breeze’, a free organisation sponsored by HSBC, which runs novice group rides. The benefits of cycling outdoors cannot be over-emphasised – it’s invigorating, exciting, surprisingly fun and sociable.

Sport is the ideal outlet to get your mojo back

“Sign up for a training camp such as Tri50’s triathlon and/or swimming camps – they offer expertise, encouragement, support and great camaraderie. What are you waiting for?”

Any final words of encouragement?
“If you’ve lost confidence and find yourself stuck in a rut after years of putting others’ health and wellbeing ahead of yours, through sport and exercise, you can get a renewed positivity and confidence for life. Sport is the ideal outlet to get your mojo back.”



Swim Camp – Sands Beach Resort, Lanzarote, 23rd April to 28th April 2018
This is geared to all age groups and ability levels (100m continuous swim is our minimum joining requirement). Our fully-coached swim camp takes place in beautiful Lanzarote at the end of April, and offers daily coached pool and sea swims, underwater filming to improve technique and awareness, and a personalised six-week swim training programme to take home. Ideal for those wanting to improve their general swim ability and/or prepare for the upcoming race season.

Triathlon Camp – Sands Beach Resort, Lanzarote, 29th April to 6th May 2018
For those wanting to develop skills in all elements of a triathlon, this camp offers swimming, running and cycling coaching, delivered by experienced and professional coaches. Mature athletes will also receive endurance and interval training across all the disciplines together, with general conditioning and strength exercises, nutrition and heart rate training principles, which are must-haves for injury-free success in this challenging sport.

Company Team Coaching – available all year round, on request
Want to inject some positivity into your workforce? Our corporate triathlon training days are inspiring, fun and a great way to encourage employees to lead a healthier lifestyle, and therefore become more productive in the workplace.

Bespoke coaching – available all year round, on request
Tri50 offers a personalised service to suit individual needs, be it help overcoming an injury, or fear of a particular element of the sport. Sandra and I focus on fulfilling individual requirements as a mature athlete.

Why not register your interest today? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain! Visit for further information on how to get started.

Great North SwimRun

On Saturday 10 June I did my first SwimRun. This was the inaugural Great North SwimRun which was part of a longer-standing festival of open water swimming that takes place in and around Lake Windemere and attracted approximately 8,000 swimmers this year.

SwimRun is relatively new and has a few differences with triathlon. Most obviously, there is no bike leg. There are multiple swims and runs (rather than just one of each) meaning that you have to swim while wearing your running shoes and run while wearing your wetsuit. You can use whatever swim aids you desire, the most common being pull buoys and paddles, with the proviso that you have to carry them while running. And you must take part as a team of two: at no point on the course can you be more than ten metres from your teammate such that in many events, but not this one, you must be tethered together.

The Great North SwimRun offers three distances: 10k; 23k; and 35k with about 15% of each being swims and the balance runs. We opted for the middle distance which comprised five swims of 1,300m, 350m, 500m, 650m, and 800m interspersed with four runs of 6.9k, 11k, 1.2k, and 1k. The swims were generally across bays or along the shoreline of the lake, except for the first swim which took us over the belly of Lake Windemere from one side to the other, and the runs were either gravel paths or trails with maybe a kilometre on the roads. There was about 500m of climbing.

The organisation of the event was stellar with a comprehensive briefing the night before, easy registration, a chance to get into the water before the start, and ten minutes of callisthenics to warm us up before the off. Equally importantly, the marshalling was upbeat and supportive despite it raining throughout the event (it was sunny down south but we had cold, winds and rain such that the second day’s events were all cancelled) and the numerous kayakers were attentive.

For those contemplating a SwimRun, there are some things to be aware of. Swimming in shoes isn’t difficult though I’d recommend elastic laces. My teammate did not have them and got cramp when his laces came undone in the middle of the fourth swim and he had to re-tie them while treading water. Unexpectedly, they also caused his feet to sink. In training they were fine. However, a better swimmer than me, he had to swim at a slower pace than usual and without his usually speed his shod feet sank. He plans to try neoprene calf guards to overcome this next time. I used a pull buoy so didn’t have that problem but noticed a marked drop in speed from not using my legs and had to stop swimming from time to time as the pull buoy slipped away from me.

A number of teams used tow ropes in the swim so that the stronger swimmers could pull their weaker partners. You could see those who had practiced – typically the ropes were short and the second swimmer still managed a front crawl those who hadn’t – long ropes that snagged other swimmers and teammates doing breast stroke.

Running in wet shoes didn’t give us blisters though we both wore thin socks too. Running in a wetsuit was fine. In hot weather I can imagine that wouldn’t be so great but in our cold event we didn’t even undo the zips let alone pull off the top half.

You need to think about what to do with your swimming kit when running. I didn’t notice the pull buoy strapped to my leg while running. However, I looped my goggles through my race belt as we set off on the first run and snagged them on a gate within the first 100m. They snapped in two. I had a spare pair and from then on they were tucked inside my wetsuit during each run.

Finally, we both struggled with the cold. The lake was a bit above 15C which wouldn’t be a problem in a one swim triathlon. However towards the end of the event when we were tired, the swims were more frequent and the runs shorter, our bodies couldn’t warm up sufficiently on the runs before getting back into the cold water. We’ve agreed that the next one we’ll do will be in the Mediterranean.

All in, I loved the event. There is an admirable ethos to SwimRun that is focused on nature and feels a long way from manicured triathlon course like Eton Dorney. Similarly, while there were a few racing hard, the vast majority of participants were competing against the course and saw each other as allies and not enemies. Everyone was friendly, gates were held open, and words of encouragement were plentiful.

I’d heartily recommend SwimRun as a discipline and the Great North SwimRun as an event.

Des Byrne
June 2017

Tri50’s own, Jo Lewis, takes 1st place in the European Aquathlon Championships in Bratislava!

Joanna Lewis GBR, racing in the 60-64 category, led home the British trio in the women’s race. Her opening swim gave her almost three minutes to play with. A closing run that was enough to win but not faster than one of her opponents, gave her the title once more. She has been World Aquathlon Champion before, back in 2006. She took the title in Pontevedra in 2011 in the Sprint and just to show it was not a fluke, won in 2012 in Eilat. The 2015 title was hers in 2015 in Köln and this weekend, the European title is once again in her hands. Silver went to Gina Coulson and bronze to Karen Hames.

Fuerteventura 2017 – Day 10: Have a Tri!! by the Brownlee Sisters

Our last day thinking it was going to be an easy one before we head home tomorrow, but instead Jo & Sandra had different ideas for us!. After a restless night and still feeling tired, we met on the beach for T1 and T2 Transition training with Jo & Ted, a very informative & helpful session. Helene & Will showed everyone how to smoothly scoot & then mount & dismount off their bikes like real professionals. Lindsey, Barney, Maureen, Janet & Terry successfully followed as I watched in admiration & thought to myself ‘I’m not doing that’ and all I could think of was Breakfast. I think some practise before the next Triathlon and all the triathletes will be showing everyone how it’s done.

Immediately afterwards, we joined Sandra for a Core Conditioning session on the beautiful green grass overlooking the seas – once again a great session and after a week everyone has developed a six pack to show off when they get home -am not sure what’s happened to mine though!
Thanks to Sandra we have realised how important it is to work on having a strong core which helps to improve across all the disciplines.

At breakfast Jo nearly managed to burn down the restaurant by placing too thick a wedge of bread in the toaster – am so glad she didn’t as we still have one more breakfast to enjoy before going home. We then had the remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon off before tackling our final

Have a Tri……..

Maureen puts everything on the bed as she has done all week & then I just copy her (don’t know what I would have done without her). Dressed with Tri suit and wet suit half on & helmet on our heads we take the bikes and head on out to meet the others. I feel a bit more anxious today because I know what to expect!
it takes Julie, Stefan and Sandra to zip me up in my wet suit, which still feels so tight I would have thought after this week of hard training it would be a little looser by now but No! Stefan tells me it’s all muscle that I’ve built up so I believe him, he knows best.
Everyone is keen to start, I have a head start as I only have to swim to and round the second buoy whilst everyone else swims a further 400m. I am the first to finish and get on my bike but soon, one by one, they all passed me. The wind was strong pushing my bike side to side but I made it on the red road & back to the finish line, all of 10 kms. Then for the run which was very difficult in the afternoon heat – Jo ran with me for the final 300m and encouraged me to push the pace to the finish line………..

And there it was, we finished a wonderful week of achieving the unimaginable.

Maureen & I would just like to say a big Thank you to our Coaches Jo, Sandra and Christine for all their help , advice & support they have given us during this week. Also thanks to Ted and Stefan for their invaluable support, really appreciated.

I never imagined three years ago that I would be Having a Try at a Triathlon, having started from a total unfit base, with not a clue about fitness.
I feel totally overwhelmed as I write this”.

Snita Sharma and Maureen Pedri
Brownlee Sisters

Fuerteventura 2017 – Day 9 by Nigel

The alarm awakens me from my slumbers at 6:30 am.
I tiptoe tentatively to the window hoping against hope that windy Fuerteventura would come to my rescue, making it impossibly dangerous for our early sea swim session.
No such luck, peering out into the morning’s dawn it’s calm & tranquil, and even at this unearthly hour, the sea looks surprisingly inviting!
My only hope left is to check the Group WhatsApp just in case the Coaches have decided a last minute change of plan.
Again, no such luck, the message box is forlornly empty!

With all the enthusiasm of a grumpy old man, I start to oil and grease my reluctant lower body into my wet suit and at least looking the part of a proper triathlete (which counts for a lot in my book, not actually being the part) I set out towards the beach to meet the rest of our group.
Coach Sandra puts us through our paces with various drills to get used to starts and swimming alongside our fellow competitors, and we are actually encouraged to use sharp elbows to fight for our space in the water – brave chap that I am, I only manage to get punched by a couple of the girls whom I swear must have had outboard motors on their backs as I am swimming at about the speed of a sea snail!
Never mind, I persist and then discover the art of turning round a buoy backwards and then sighting Coach Sandra in the far distance, standing on the beach, both of which drills to my utter astonishment I manage to complete with half-decent competence, to which I receive the “thumbs-up”. Praise indeed, even from a Sunderland supporter to a Geordie Lad!

The day progresses after our usual, hearty and healthy breakfast to a 30-40k bike ride along the very peaceful roads of Fuerteventura which, from my perspective is a joy compared with the manic and frightening traffic I encounter in NW London which is terribly off-putting for this particular senior vet and “newbie” cyclist.
Coach Jo in her usual attentive manner explains the route out and how to practice our drafting skills and, little by little, I gain confidence to the extent that I start to become much more comfortable on the “drops” and Helena and I take it in turns to work together.
Then, after 20 kms, it’s time for a coffee break and the cameraderie of our group kicks in and although we are of varying standards I’m beginning to feel for the first time, not just looking the part but actually being the part of a proper cyclist.
However, I’m brought back swiftly back to earth as we set out on the second half of our ride, by Stefan, who very quietly and tactfully takes me to one side and explains that I’m wearing my cycling gloves inside out and also gently points out to ignorant Yours Truly what the purpose of the loops on the gloves were for. Who knew?

As the ride proceeds towards its conclusion I am determined to use the remaining time on the road to practice my endurance and (relative) speed in preparation for the forthcoming ITU qualifier at Eton Dorney in three weeks’ time and I set off in earnest pursuit of Coach Sandra and super-biker Terry who are leading the group home.
I grit my teeth and am prepared to give it my all and, despite the gusty conditions which are challenging to say the least, I manage to keep with them to the “finishing line”.

Every day at Tri 50 training camp has been a joy, I have learnt such a lot from both the superbly professional and caring coaches, but also from my fellow triathletes who continually look out for me as the senior Vet in the group.
We are indeed as Shakespeare would put it: “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers!”
I feel very privileged and blessed to have spent this week training in Fuerteventura and who knows, I may one day soon turn into a proper triathlete!

Nigel Levey
Maturest Tri50 Triathlete (72 years young!)

Fuerteventura 2017 – Day 8 by Barney

After a late night of tapas, great company, wine and rum shots, our considerate Coaches, Jo and Sandra, gave everybody a well deserved rest and lie in! Although this wouldnt keep our Coaches down and, leading by example, they all took to the sea first thing. My spies tell me this was like an exhibition swimming event although some lessons on sighting maybe required, as a number of buoys were apparently missed!

So, back to the day. After another fine healthy breakfast we took to the pool for a coached swim session. Swimming isn’t my strongest discipline but I was crushed when after 1 years swimming I was told it would take me at least another 8 to actually learn to do it properly! That said, everyone swam really well and the coaching tips have already made a huge difference to all of us.
A quick T1 and everybody was on the bike – amazing effort by all. The crosswinds both up and downhill were slightly off putting but everyone pushed through and completed the ride.
Next the strangest thing happened, after a late start we were given 3 hours off – what should we do, decisions, decisions, for us it was an energetic afternoon consisting of lunch, sun-lounger and ice-cream. This was not for Terry though, and he pushed on through with an aqua-aerobics class – perhaps he has a future as the Tri 50 Mr Motivator, I wonder how he looks in leg warmers?

The day wrapped up with a gruelling run session in the afternoon heat, some stretching and Ted’s suggestion of African squats?

Bon voyage to the Triathlon Friday crew who are heading home, you will be missed – perhaps we will meet up next year, same time, same place ……………..

Barney Kelham