Ahead of the Hatch-end and harrow triathlon on the 12th May 2019, we asked Race Officiator Andrzej Warhaftig to tell us his triathlon experiences.

I am looking forward to returning to the Hatch End Triathlon to officiate on the 12th May 2019, as I was the official at the very first Hatch End events.

My involvement in triathlon began in the early 1980s and I have competed in many events over every distance up to and including Ironman, as well as representing Great Britain at Age Group levels. The latter including the world long distance championships taking place in Nice. In 1986, along with Dave Wardle and 2 others I started Hillingdon Triathlon Club, and shortly after that formed the London Region of British Triathlon along with John Lunt (organiser of the 2012 Olympic triathlon), serving as treasurer – and remaining involved to this day. Some years ago I was an elected director of British Triathlon, and my role was as treasurer when we received our first ever Olympic grant, which was transformative for the sport. Recognition of my many activities in the sport came in 2015 when I was voted Regional Volunteer of the year, England Triathlon Volunteer of the Year and British Triathlon Volunteer of the year.

On the officiating side, we were originally called referees, and we previously used to have to sanction (approve) events, which is now undertaken by the race organisers as a risk assessment. Being one of the first referees I used to train others seeking accreditation, and also served on the British Triathlon Rules and Technical Committee. As a National Official I have supervised events from very small ones up national championships, including (for example) the Windsor Triathlon on a number of occasions.

I always enjoy being involved in small low key novice events, where I see my role as to helping competitors achieving their goals and finishing with a smile – especially the novices and the tristars.

What I like most about the Hatch End and Harrow triathlon is the whole atmosphere of the event and the way that everyone is so supportive and encouraging to one another – competitors, officials, volunteers/marshals and families. That makes for a fantastic race, and especially so for the children who compete in a completely safe environment.

Everyone has a ‘first’ triathlon they take part in, even the professionals, and despite what you might think you don’t need expensive kit to take part.

From the outside it can seem that everyone is incredibly fit, very serious and experienced, and that there is no way that you as a newcomer can take part. But everyone will remember their first race, and remember how daunting it seemed.

“I think a lot of people can be put off by the thought of all three disciplines, says Kevin Concannon, Welfare Officer of JetStream Tri club and part of the race organising committee for Hatch End and Harrow Triathlon

“We all have disciplines we prefer or are stronger in, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do all three,” he went on to say. “That’s why we promote the Hatch End and Harrow Triathlon to those who may not have taken part in a triathlon before.”

The Triathlon community is one founded on peer support and determination to complete. Be it your first or 101st, Triathlons are open to anyone who wants to take part.

“Our pool-based swim definitely helps it make it less daunting and as a family-oriented event with races for juniors it is an ideal starter race for those new to the sport.” Kevin continued, “and our army of volunteers voicing support to participants around the course.”

And whilst you might think you need a plethora of kit to take part, in reality, all you need is a bike, some running shoes and some swim kit to take part.

“The Hatch End and Harrow Triathlon prides itself on being inclusive and so Jetstream offer support and training for the less experienced triathlete with pool coaching and how to transition between each sport”.

Kevin went on to say “With a supportive community, local clubs to help you with training and entry local level races, there is no greater sport to challenge yourself with.”

The Hatch End Triathlon takes place on the 12th May 2019 in Hatch End with a 400-meter swim, 17km cycle and 3km off road run; with five shorter races for juniors.