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The Story So Far...

Kate set up Smiling Tri Coach at the end of 2015 with the aim of coaching athletes of all levels and from all walks of life to reach their goals and maximise their potential. The style of coaching was designed to respond to the needs of each athlete, learning how each individual responds to training load and ensuring that recovery was central to the plan. Our objective was to create athletes who can train consistently season after season, whilst balancing jobs, families and other hobbies without falling out of love with our amazing sport.

Smiling Tri Coach grew and grew, and its athletes built a colourful and charismatic vibe which seemed to attract like-minded athletes.

open water, smiling triathletes, training, swimming
Saturday swims at Open Swim UK, Sale Water Park

In February 2018 Kate invited Mel to become an integral part of Smiling Tri Coach after lots of thinking time. Kate and Mel are a great fit for the business, with correlating coaching values and beliefs, and a similar understanding of what makes athletes tick. Kate brings a strong coaching and leadership background as Head Coach of Manchester Triathlon Club, British Triathlon Federation Level 3 Performance Coach and member of the BTF Coach Development Team tutoring new Level 1 and Level 2 coaches as well as the new Level 2 Diploma course. Kate’s background is in swimming, and her passion for swimming is present in everything she does.

Mel brings to the business a steely determination and a wealth of talent and experience which has earned her many GBR team accolades. In 2017 Mel was World Champion in Long Distance Duathlon in her age group and 3rd in her age group at IMUK. She is a sought after Level 3 Personal Trainer and Level 2 BTF Coach and is a senior coach at Manchester Triathlon Club.

If you follow our social media pages, you will know that Smiling Tri Coach is all about our athletes, our friends and our supporters. I like to think of them as our tribe. We want to encourage everyone to be the best that they can be, and not to limit their ambition. In our experience, everyone needs a cheerleader, someone who helps them believe in themselves just a little bit more than before. It is about celebrating achievement, celebrating commitment and celebrating enthusiasm.

Whilst the Winter of 2018 led to many races being cancelled due to snow, our athletes really did not let their training slip. The snow caused additional difficulties in getting out for some of the longer rides, which proved to be a blessing in disguise as many of our athletes were persuaded to train with TrainerRoad which has helped us to boost performance even more than usual. Athletes Richard and David increased their FTPs by 19% and 21% respectively over only a couple of months, and Si’s FTP rocketed after a winter ‘stuck’ inside on the Wattbike.

In February, Kate broke the 2 hour barrier for the first time at Brighton Half Marathon. We were so delighted with this result as Kate had toe surgery last year! Kate followed up the race on a cycling holiday with Cycle Retreats. We were so proud when Cycle Retreats posted on Instagram how impressive Kate and husband Richard were on the bike this year.

In March, David took on IM New Zealand 70.3 and finished in a new PB time of 6:08. He completed the same course in December 2017 (but the swim was cancelled) and managed to improve his bike time by 6 minutes and his run time by 14 minutes. This marked the end of an epic season for David – moving your family to New Zealand is no mean feat and continuing to train and make improvements is something to be very proud of. We are just delighted that he wished to continue to be coached by Smiling Tri Coach!!

In April, Lisa ran Manchester Marathon and finished in a PB time - 3 minutes faster than at London last year. Lisa was running for Diabetes UK in memory of her friend Mark.

Anna and Mel ran Blackpool Half Marathon at the end of April – and both finished with PB times!

As the triathlon season revved up, we saw lots of racing in May. The IMUK big rides were kicking in a Becky used Tour de Manc as a nice 100 miler. On the same day, Brett completed Tour de Yorkshire as another Ironman training ride.

Talking of big rides….. Richard had been training hard all year making really steady progress towards his goal of the Fred Whitton in May. His brilliant result of 8:42 is testimony to his hard work and also to his great coaching relationship with Coach Mel.

As the sun got hotter and hotter, so did the racing! Becky PB’ed by 4 minutes at Outlaw Half and Brett put together a solid race despite a difficult winter of training. Coach Mel was impressive as ever, winning her age group and coming 16th lady over all. Mel has been coached by Paul Savage for some years and has gone from strength to strength.

Kate and Jane raced Wilmslow Triathlon – Kate showing her true colours and helping a damsel in distress on the bike, and Jane facing her first triathlon swim, and conquering it. Caz ran her first 10k and Mark realised how strong his bike could be at the Etape Caledonia.

In June, the racing revved up again, with Rob smashing expectations at Deva Middle Distance – having been unable to run in the weeks before the race. He broke the 5 hour barrier with a time of 4:56.

The big WTS weekend at Leeds saw ex swimmer Mark complete his first standard distance. Mark put in a strong race, smashing his bike and run target times and learning loads about racing in the process. Mark finished in a time of 2:08. This is exciting as there is still lots of room for improvement! Mark said “Kate has been training me for a new sport now since October last year. I am loving the new challenges and in recent weeks have learnt to ride on aero bars, dismount a moving bike and to run when I am already exhausted. Two races in and the mistakes are fewer and further between. All good fun and all great experience. Most fun I have had in sport for years.”

Cliff is training for IM in August, and slotted in the Great SwimRun middle distance in Windermere. He was very chuffed to finish 8th overall and 2nd mixed team despite Cliff’s SwimRun partner later discovering she had a broken foot!

JT entered IM Wales 2017 and quickly realised that his busy lifestyle was going to make training tricky. After some thought JT decided to defer to 2018 and work on his swimming. He came back to training stronger in October 2017 and has been balancing three homes in three cities, lots of business travel and commitments ever since. He finished IM Staffordshire 70.3 in a time of 7:28 – and the swim in 52 minutes. Coach Kate has never been so delighted!

Nadia is training for the Maratona dles Dolomites which takes place on 1 July. This year has seen a gradual build up of miles in the saddle and climbing increases and rides in May/early June have included the Tour de Manc 170km 2429m, Tour of the Peak 180km 3453m, Manchester to Snowdonia 210km 1292m and Seascale to Whitby via Hardknott and Wrynose 243km and 3563m. The aim is the Maratona long route which is 138km and 4230m. Nadia didn’t manage the long route last year when cold conditions affected the start of my day. Hopefully planning around that with Kate’s help will result in my ambition being realised this year. Nadia is Head of the Cycling claims team at Twisted Spokes at JMW Manchester

This photo shows Nadia at the top of Great Dun Fell after work one evening 33km 831m.

Ade missed out on the London Marathon this year due to injury but he has spent his time focusing on his swim and his bike and we have even got him into yoga. Ade has seen some great performances as a result. Ade did A Day in the Lakes and came13/147 so achieved his top 10% goal. Ade also took 4 mins off his Sprint PB at Nantwich, all of which was bike (34mins 20k). 1’06 total time. 

Siobhan took on the Lakesman Half and conquered!! Siobhan is an ultra runner, and also new to swimming. Coached by Mel and working with Kate on the swim Siobhan overcame a lot of adversity to get to the start line. She finished strong and smiling and hopefully planning to do an iron distance.

And so we reach the end of June!! Caz is racing SwimRun Llanberis, Kate, Louise, Cliff and Nanette are racing various distances at Cholmondley Castle and Coach Kate and Coach Mel are racing the Standard relay. Athlete Kate has already set the standard by winning her age group in the Super Sprint… so we will try our best not to let the side down tomorrow!!!

It is an absolute pleasure to work with these amazing people, and we have so much more still to come. There are lots of IM races to be completed; Becky at IMUK, Brett at Copenhagen, Cliff at Sweden, and Jackie, Sarah and JT are training hard for IM Wales.

You can now see why we have so much to smile about!!!



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