Ahead of their London Triathlon on Sunday 10 September, we spoke to the Black Tri Tribe’s founder Kelly Smith about their mission to empower and inspire individuals from diverse backgrounds to embrace the world of triathlon
The Black Tri Tribe is the first triathlon club specifically designed for people of colour, striving to “pave the way for a more inclusive and representative triathlon community”.
As well as hosting triathlon events, The Black Tri Tribe also provides coached swim sessions, monthly cycle rides and guided walks in the countryside.
Ahead of their London Triathlon on Sunday 10 September (details at the bottom), we spoke to the club’s founder Kelly Smith about The Black Tri Tribe’s journey so far.
Kelly, what inspired you to start The Black Tri Tribe?
It was the lack of diversity in swimming, cycling, hiking at at triathlon events that ignited my desire to create an inclusive community, where Black people feel welcome and empowered to explore these sports and activities.
Tell us more about your own background in the world of outdoor sports.
I’ve been an outdoor enthusiast for years, especially in swimming and hiking. As a writer for Countryfile Magazine and in my work for outdoor EDI consultancy, I’ve had the privilege of connecting with nature in various ways. I want to share that passion with my community groups.
What’s been a highlight so far on The Black Tri Tribe journey?
Seeing hesitant individuals become confident swimmers, cyclists and hikers, and witnessing the friendships that have formed within our supportive community.
Tell us about your event coming up on 10 September.
Our London Triathlon is a celebration of our community’s achievements and an opportunity for new members to experience a triathlon in an inclusive way. See more details about the event below!
Next year, we have an array of engaging events planned, including more triathlons, open-water swim coaching, cycling sessions and hiking adventures.
What have been the experiences of people involved with your club? And how has being a part of this community helped you?
Our members often express newfound confidence, improved mental wellbeing, and a sense of belonging.
Myself – being part of this community has reaffirmed my belief in the transformative power of outdoor activities and the impact they have on building connections.
What do you hope for the future of the Black Tri Tribe?
I envision the Black Tri Tribe becoming a catalyst for change within the outdoor sports community, fostering diversity, representation, and accessibility. I hope to see our members continue to thrive and inspire others to embrace outdoor adventures. At the moment only 3.2% of British Triathlon members are from a BAME background. We aim to get that up to 20%. According to the Black Swimmers Association, 96% of black adults don’t swim. We aim to reduce that to 50% by 2033.
Black Tri Tribe London Triathlon, 10 September
Participants can choose between a Sprint Triathlon (434m swim, 20K bike and 5K walk/jog) and a Special Triathlon (132m swim, 10K bike, 1K walk/jog). The meeting place is Hampton Pool in London (7am, 10 September). All levels of experience welcome. Click here for information and tickets.
Find out more about The Black Tri Tribe.
Read more about inspiring swimming groups in our community-themed September issue.