London Triathlon Works To Grow Female Participation

By Community | June 27, 2019

Women’s sport is currently enjoying a high profile but in many participation sports events the number of women participating is still well behind the men. To help narrow the gap, Limelight Sports, which manages the London Triathlon (July 27-28 this year), has teamed up with Her Spirit, a personalised coaching app for your mind, body and fuel aimed specifically at women.

They recruited 30 women new to the sport to understand why fewer women take part and what can be done to change this.

According to the Triathlon Industry Association, despite some recent increases, 68% of triathlon competitors are male. The balance in cycling events is even worse, and although running events are more equal Marastats shows that 62% of marathon runners and 54% of half marathon runners are male. Participation in these sports more broadly is still very male skewed according to Sport England’s Active Lives – 63% of cyclists and 55% of runners are male.

Her Spirit targets women looking to take part in participation events for the first time and make the experience as easy, supportive and as enjoyable as possible.Expert coaching and peer to peer support from like-minded women helps to guide women through all the elements involved in taking part.

The 30 women (the initial programme which was six times over-subscribed) have received a number of benefits including free entry to the London Triathlon, use of a wetsuit for trainingand competing, an 8 week training programme including one-to-one online coaching sessions, their own online community and group coaching sessions.

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Craig Dews, CEO Limelight Sports, said, “In 1990 when Limelight first started organising major participation events, they were generally very male dominated.  Over the last 15 years, there has been an increase in the percentage of female participants but much more work needs to be done. At Limelight, we are looking to get a better understanding of the barriers to women taking part in participation sport and then use the learnings to improve the way we market and deliver events to substantially increase the number of women taking part.”a

Melanie Berry, Co-founder of Her Spirit, said, “Participation sports such as running, cycling and triathlon provide the perfect platform for women to experience the achievement and thrill of taking part in professionally organised participation events. Women need to feel more confident about looking for greater challenges such as the London Triathlon and Her Spirit aims to help them as much as possible to take the first steps and go on to complete the journey.”

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