Triathlon Scotland Annual Awards

28th Nov 2016 | Written by LesleyJ

Voted by our members, for our members, the annual Triathlon Scotland awards acknowledge the athletes, coaches and volunteers making a difference to triathlon across Scotland.

This year’s winners are:

Young Volunteer of the Year – Cliona Ferguson, Stirling Triathlon Club
Young Volunteer of the Year – Arianna Sahraie, Fleet Feet Triathletes
Volunteer of the Year – John Hagemeister, Fusion Triathlon Club
Official of the Year – Gillian Kennedy, Perth Triathlon Club
Most Enjoyable Event of the Year – Ayr Open Water Sprint Triathlon, Ayrodynamic Triathlon Club
Athlete of the Year – Grant Sheldon
Age Group Athlete Male – Gordon Crawford, Stirling Triathlon Club
Age Group Athlete Female –  Alice Jenkins, Hartree JETS
Paratriathlon Award- Alison Patrick and Hazel Macleod (nee Smith)
Children’s Coach of the Year – Billy Mitchell, Stirling Triathlon Club
Participation Coach of the Year – Kevin Watson, Fleet Feet Triathlon
Performance Development Coach of the Year – Kevin MacArthur, Edinburgh #3
Event of the Year – Monikie M3 Sprint Triathlon, Monifieth Triathlon Club
Club of the Year – Grangemouth Triathlon Club
Outstanding Contribution – Glasgow Triathlon Club
Commendation Award – Hazel MacLeod (nee Smith)

Read a bit about each of our award winners below.

Young Volunteer of the Year
Cliona Ferguson, Stirling Triathlon Club

Cliona has been volunteering for four years, and is a Level 1 coach.  Not content with that she is currently completing her Level 2, which she fits in alongside her full time university course and triathlon training.  Cliona shows great maturity and delivers training sessions to an exceptional standard, actively ensuring that she keeps people engaged.  A very caring individual Cliona makes sure she nurtures the club’s young athletes, offering advice and using her connections to seek professional opinions when required.  Her hard work and caring attitude makes her a very worthy recipient of this award.

Young Volunteer of the Year
Arrianna Sahraie, Fleet Feet Triathletes

Arianna has been volunteering for the last two years, and despite her age she has grown in maturity as her love for triathlon has also grown in parallel.  We all know that help at events is vital and Arianna has shown a great ability to organise – taking the lead role in marshal points, ensuring that everyone is in the right location, stepping in if need be as well.  She is a great role model for others, and in particular the club’s young members.  She is dedicated to her own triathlon training, works hard in sessions and always conducts herself in a mature and pleasant manner.  Commended by the adult members in the club for being a supportive team mate who works hard she is a very worthy recipient of this award.

Volunteer of the Year
John Hagemeister, Fusion Triathlon Club

Described as; “an unsung events volunteering hero”.  John has been involved in triathlon for many years not only with his club, but also with Triathlon Scotland’s volunteer legacy projects.  A club committee member for many years, he has helped to organise annual club events and is always the first to volunteer at Triathlon Scotland’s major events.  John is always looking to develop his skills and better his knowledge by attending training courses such as the Triathlon Scotland event organiser course, the paratriathlon handler training courses and is a regular at both the Exchange and Coaching conferences.   There from dawn till dusk, he is an asset to any events team where he takes his good humour and quiet persona with him and is a smiley, familiar face to many.  John is a much valued person in the triathlon community and a great role model for the sport.  A recent winner of the Leigh Day British Triathlon Volunteer of the Year award we are delighted to present him with the Triathlon Scotland Volunteer of the Year  Award.

Official of the Year
Gillian Kennedy, Perth Triathlon Club

Not so long ago Gillian got involved in triathlon as a participant, and her love for the sport has grown and she is now a fully-fledged committee member, event organiser and technical official!  Gillian believes that triathlon might be an individual sport a lot of the time, but being a technical official means she is part of a team, be it with other officials, or in partnership with the race director, and their marshals. And she loves that about triathlon.  This year, Gillian could be found across the length and breadth of the country, officiating from Aberdeenshire to the Scottish borders and she truly gave back to the sport by attending 10 events this year, including four Scottish Championships, as chief official, supporting many of our trainee technical officials as they complete their qualification as well.

Most Enjoyable Event of the Year
Ayr Open Water Sprint Triathlon, Ayrodynamic Triathlon Club
Decided by our members, the Ayr Open Water Sprint Triathlon is an event that is firmly embedded in Scottish Triathlon history.  The 750m swim takes you down and up the River Doon, a calm fresh-water stretch of water. The 20km cycle section is an undulating out and back route with a loop through the village of Dunure and the 5km looped run is along cycle paths and quiet streets.  Our members say the event is “a great, well organised race, but then it always is”, has “fantastic marshals and a good challenging course” and that they would “recommend it to anyone as it is a great local sprint”.

Athlete of the Year
Grant Sheldon

Our Athlete of the Year, Grant, has had an incredible year!  Part of the most successful Team Scotland Triathlon team at Glasgow 2014 Grant had a difficult 2015.  He however worked back to fitness and came back with a vengeance, delivering on more than one occasion, great performances and determination.  Our winner has finished the season with a gold in the mixed relay European championships, third at the European sprint championships, fourth in WTS Edmonton; the highest ever finish from a Scottish athlete in a WTS race!  And was crowned World University Champion 2016.  A well-deserved award for Grant!

Age Group Athlete Female
Alice Jenkins, Hartree JETS

Starting triathlon at university Alice was determined to find a challenge outside of her degree and as such decided to give triathlon a go.  Like so many, she caught the bug and has shown significant improvements year on year. Part of the Hartree JETS squad, based in Edinburgh, in 2015 she won numerous accolades.  Having already qualified for the 2016 World and European Championships the stage was a set for some hard winter training and fine tuning.  Hard working with a passion for triathlon and it shows in Alice’s performances.  An even better season than last year, she found herself holding a trio of titles: 2016 British Age Group Champion, 2016 European Champion and 2016 World Age Group Champion!  And not content to win the worlds, she did so with an astonishing 5 minute [and 1 second!] gap, recording the fastest Age Group time of all female categories!  Alice was also recently crowned the Eisberg British Triathlon Age Group Triathlete of the Year.

Age Group Athlete Male
Gordon Crawford, Stirling Triathlon Club

Gordon has been representing GB on the Age Group team for many years.  Clearly someone who loves the sport, triathlon is a way of life for him.  In June he headed to Chateauroux for the Europeans where he took the bronze medal and in September he headed to Mexico to race the aquathlon event in, as he describes: “the old crocks’” division.  He clearly had a great experience and in tough conditions battled his way to a world aquathlon silver medal!  Gordon has a real passion for triathlon and is looking forward to racing in the new World Championship Festival in Canada next year where he is sure to enjoy every minute.

Paratriathlon Award
Alison Patrick and Hazel Macleod (nee Smith)

A fantastic and exciting year for triathlon, the addition of the Olympics and Paralympics to the calendar always brings special excitement.  What can we say about our winners?!  They have, together, had a huge amount of success and that is a true reflection of their hard work, grit and determination.  Very much a team Alison and Hazel have achieved much success along the way, this year achieving: a European Championship gold, World Championship gold and most recently, Rio Paralympic Silver!

Children’s Coach of the Year
Billy Mitchell, Stirling Triathlon Club

Billy has been a level three triathlon coach for 12 years, dedicating his time to developing young athletes.  He regularly puts in over 15 hours per week to coaching and running his club’s youth section where he carefully plans and reflects on his sessions and is always looking to improve the experience of youngsters coming through the club.  Combining coaching with a demanding job, he works tirelessly to inspire people’s involvement in our sport.  Recent winner of the Leigh Day British Triathlon Coach of the Year, he said:  “The children I coach keep me so motivated after all these years, their enthusiasm and drive really make it worthwhile. The variety triathlon brings is so great, there’s always a new challenge and this helps to keep things fresh too.”  Billy is a true ambassador for our sport.

Participation Coach of the Year
Kevin Watson, Fleet Feet Triathlon

Kevin has been actively coaching for around seven years.  He is a level two coach, currently working towards level three.  A meticulous approach he plans and writes out sessions, coaching several sessions each week.  He is always looking to further his knowledge and skills, and improve the experience of the club’s members.  Keen to promote triathlon Kevin works with local authorities and clubs to help promote the sport as well as attending local events.  His passion for our sport is clear and he takes great delight in sharing this with the athletes he coaches.  Always at the forefront of his mind is to enjoy what triathlon offers and his caring and nurturing approach to his coaching has undoubtedly encouraged and inspired people to develop their triathlon.  Commended highly within his club, he is always there to answer questions, concerns and give advice.

Performance Development Coach of the Year
Kevin MacArthur, Edinburgh #3

Kevin has been coaching for four years, and is a level three coach and although he has a busy professional and personal life he has dedicated significant time to developing and coaching athletes.  Part of the sportscotland East Coast talent coaching programme our winner is always looking to develop his skills and knowledge further.  An excellent role model for the club’s members, he is an active triathlon age grouper and enjoys racing at the sprint distance.  A coach for everyone he has actively developed club pathways for all from those looking to succeed at the highest level to those enjoying participation races.  A coach for his club, Edinburgh #3, as well as the Triathlon Scotland Foundation Squad and has also been instrumental in helping Triathlon Scotland set up the East and Borders Skills School.  Our winner provides free individual coaching to club athletes with performance aspirations, helping to set realistic goals and helping review progress.

Club of the Year
Grangemouth Triathlon Club

A young club, our Club of the Year: Grangemouth Triathlon Club, has achieved a lot.  In its inaugural year they have successfully created a club where the atmosphere throughout, from triathlon training, to taking part in events, to volunteering and coaching, is like a big family.  The club is firmly embedded within the local community where they have built successful partnerships with a local high school, athletics club and council.  With more than 90 members in just 12 months covering all age groups, the club offers five formal training sessions every week.  An active part of the community, attracting many people into the sport they have seen the club represented in over 40 events this year – and it has to be said they are easy to spot with their colourful club tri-gear!  To support their membership, they already have six level 1 and 2 qualified coaches, with a further five currently working towards their qualifications.  Very much “open to all”, they have helped to support a number of athletes with health issues and disabilities to train, enjoy and love their triathlon. They truly represent their motto: “A wee club with a big heart”!

Event of the Year
Monikie M3 Sprint Triathlon, Monifieth Triathlon Club

We are lucky to have so many beautiful venues in Scotland that lend themselves to brilliant events, and the venue of the Monikie sprint is no different.  A beautiful park setting, participants are piped to the water for the beach start.  A great set of volunteers who always have a smile on their face, there are always plenty spectators present to help encourage everyone taking part.  Race organisers have built up a great rapport with park staff and although new to the calendar in 2015, such was the success of the event they won a bid for the Scottish Sprint Championship this year.  Not resting on their laurels our winners actively developed their event by improving the transition area and introducing live commentary.  Great communication with a clear race briefing and a prompt prize giving at the end, who can forget the food provided to participants and volunteers at the end! A reputation for being a friendly club they certainly host an event to uphold the claim.

Outstanding Contribution
Glasgow Triathlon Club

Great ambassadors for the sport, Glasgow Triathlon Club, have been instrumental in creating successful partnerships to enable us to bring major triathlon events to Scotland.  More recently this has included: age group qualifiers, the World Paratriathlon event and next year’s British Sprint Championships.  As well as event organisation they also provide many volunteers, who have all helped in events such as the Commonwealth Games, paratriathlon, under 20s festival, Scottish Schools Championships, to name but a few.  In addition this club runs one of the largest local triathlons on our calendar.  Much anticipated and quickly sold out, the Bishopbriggs triathlon appeals to the masses, from TriStar to adult, from novice to performance, all athletes attend this well run, long standing event.  They have provided many key volunteers in other positions such as Bob Newton’s invaluable contribution to our vital event sanctioning process and the development of technical officials!    A well-developed club themselves they have been more than happy to support the development of other club in the city including the now well-established Glasgow University Triathlon Club and more recently the Strathclyde University Triathlon club, currently in its infancy.

Commendation Award
Hazel Macleod (nee Smith)

Hazel was an accomplished triathlete herself and 2014 she won the national sprint and standard age group titles and was a Team Scotland reserve for Glasgow 2014.  A phone call and a cup of coffee later our winner was to embark on: “a crazy roller coaster journey”.  A coffee, some use of google; “how to ride a tandem…” and our winner dipped her toe into the world of Paratriathlon.  Delighted to help Alison [Patrick] with some bike training it wasn’t long before it was confirmed Paratriathlon would feature in the Paralympics in Rio.  Hazel decided to apply to the British Triathlon Guide 2 Gold talent identification programme and the rest is history!  A steep learning curve it was soon clear that the Scottish duo were a formidable team, collecting many titles and podium finishes together.

Hazel’s career in paratriathlon started with her selfless attitude to help someone in their bid for success, at the highest level.  An inspiring attitude she has retained that selfless approach and very much sees herself as part of a team and the success at the Rio Paralympics is testament to both athletes’ attitudes.  A massive learning and life experience their medal in Rio was a team effort all the way.

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