Smiling Tri Coach is run by Kate and Mel who have years of experience helping athletes of all abilities to maintain a healthy balance between their training and performance goals and the challenges of everyday life.
Whether you own your own business, work full time or are a busy parent or carer, our background enables us to tune into your individual challenges and understand how difficult these challenges might be when you are trying to perform to your best. We have been there, done it, and Mel has got the T-shirt!
We are delighted to have been chosen as the Approved Coaching Supplier by OP Events who organise the Wilmslow Triathlon, South Manchester Triathlon and the Oulton Park Duathlons, and McA Fitness & Events who are a leading Go Tri Race Organiser.
I started coaching triathlon around the time of London 2012. I had just had my second child and was looking for a new career direction. I like to think that the discovery of my passion for coaching is an Olympic Legacy!
I grew up as a swimmer and competed regularly at a Regional level. I was a fly and freestyle swimmer which lent itself nicely to getting involved in triathlon in my twenties. I have always been sports mad, also competing in cross country, athletics and tennis. I did my first half marathon when I was 24 and have loved running ever since.
I am a British Triathlon Federation Level 3 High Performance Coach, and I work for British Triathlon as part of the Coach Education Team, developing new Level 1 and 2 coaches, and delivering the Level 2 Diploma and Level 3 High Performing Coach Programme. The High Performing Coach Programme is a world class programme at the cutting edge of Coach Education. I also mentor and support new coaches to help them develop.
In 2020, during the pandemic, Mel and I delivered a number of successful virtual team events, which led to us winning Triathlon England North West Virtual Coach of the Year.
I am currently Head Coach of Altrincham Swimming Club and was Head Coach of Manchester Triathlon Club from 2015 until 2020.
In my personal life, I am mum to Max (12) and Mollie (10) and wife to Mark, and we live in Altrincham, Cheshire.
In terms of my own triathlon performance, my first love at the moment is coaching, so I am purely training for health and fun. I'm a keen pool and open water swimmer.
I have been involved in sport all my life. As a child I was a keen runner regularly competing for Newark Athletics club as a sprinter and in cross country.
My passion for endurance sport was probably instigated by my parents who at the age of 40 and 55 decided to give marathon running a go having watched the 2nd London marathon on the television. They both fell in love with long distance running and went on to set up Southwell running club, which 30 years later is still going strong. My Mum at the age of 76 is still running and competing, my Dad at 92 has finally hung up his running shoes.
I ran my first half marathon at the age of 13, which of course now you wouldn’t be allowed to as you have to be 17 to run that distance. I remember clearly that instead of a medal you got given an ash tray for completing the run which now would seem ludicrous.
I had a break from running when I went to University to study Food Technology and really didn’t get back into running seriously until after my first child was born, although I did keep fit throughout both my pregnancies. I then went on to run numerous half marathons, marathons and did my first Ultra in 2017. My friends nicknamed me ‘marathon Mel’ and if anyone ever wanted to know anything about running it was always ask Mel.
I was introduced to triathlon by a friend who suggested I give it a go. However, I wasn’t a great swimmer and hadn’t been on a bike since I was teenager, so I had a lot to learn but I have always loved a challenge so thought why not.
A lot of swimming lessons later and the purchase of a second-hand bike, I entered the ladies only Deva Divas Sprint Triathlon. Much to my surprise I won my age group and so began my triathlon and duathlon journey.
I have raced all distances from Sprint to Ironman but would say that I am better at the long course events.
I first qualified to represent Great Britain as an age group athlete in 2015, for the European Middle Distance Triathlon Championships in Majorca where I came 4th on a day where it was 38 degrees in the shade. I have since qualified and raced for Great Britain 8 more times, 5, European Middle Distance Triathlon Championships, the 2017 World Standard Distance Triathlon Championships (I decided not to race this event as it was too close to the World Duathlon Championships) and twice in the World Long Distance Duathlon Championships.
In 2018 I won my age group at Ironman Wales and won a place to race in Kona at the Ironman World Championships in 2019. I was also 2017 World Long Distance Duathlon Champion in my age group and finished 3rd in my age group at Ironman UK.
My coaching career began as a desire to give something back to the sport I love and help other athletes achieve their dreams, whether that be to complete a triathlon or qualify to represent their country. My own journey as an athlete I believe will be invaluable in helping the athletes I coach achieve their goals.
EVENTS AND WORKSHOPS
Spirit of Sport was set up by Kate and Mel to deliver Events, Workshops and Children’s Coaching designed to encourage participation in sports in general and to inspire both young and old to take up triathlon.
INTRODUCTION TO TRIATHLON DAYS
Spirit of Sport delivers Introduction to Triathlon Days for schools, community groups and clubs. You don’t need a swimming pool, we can run the day using a community room and some outdoor space. The sessions cover some introductory information about the sport, using quizzes, games, team work and videos. There are a number of practical sessions to give the children a flavour of the skills involved and we finish the day with a mini triathlon or duathlon, dependent upon facilities.
Both Kate and Mel offer both 121 and group coaching for children and young people. Whether you want to improve your bike skills or confidence, swim skills or run performances, Kate and Mel can help.
Kate was voted NW Children’s Coach of the Year 2017 for her work with Manchester Triathlon Club Juniors and she is a BTF Level 3 Coach and Tutor. She holds full first aid, safeguarding qualifications and is DBS checked. She is a Level 2 Teacher of Aquatics and is Assistant Head Coach at Altrincham Swimming Club and is a key coach of the Trafford Borough Future Stars Swim Squad. She also holds the National Rescue Award for Swimming Teachers and Coaches, training every calendar month with Trafford Leisure.
Mel is a key Junior coach at Manchester Triathlon Club, she is also an OFSTED registered Childminder. She is a BTF Level 2 Coach and Level 3 Personal Trainer. She holds full first aid, safeguarding qualifications and is DBS checked.
For Spirit of Sport pricing please enquire via the COACH ME on the website home page.