Mr & Ms January “We thought it a fitting tribute to kick off the New Year 2018 with Kate Bryson and Jason Painter, known affectionately as ‘Kate n’ Jase’ – they are the founder members of our fantastic club & the Beccles Triathlon and an inspiration to many, myself included as my obsession with this club and all things triathlon is mainly their fault! I’m sure you’ll agree that they started something really very special and we have a lot to thank them for. Jane”
What was your favourite sport at school? Tell us about your pre-triathlon sporting history…..
Jase: I enjoyed rugby and karate, think because they are contact sports, and ironically (because now I hate it, see below) swimming.
Kate: I loved hockey and have a fantasy about joining a hockey club still today (If only I had time). I would come top in cross country at school but hated it - it was always muddy and cold!
How and why did you get into triathlon and what was your first event?
Jase: I was in the army and got nagged by a friend for years who thought I'd be good at it. I finally gave in 8 years ago and did an army novice tri.
Kate: It was a sprint tri in London where I was living at the time. I was so knackered towards the end that when a run marshal said I had a second lap to do I stood there and argued with them (I sincerely apologise for that). I thought they were winding me up!
How did you go about organising the 1st Beccles Triathlon?
Kate: I applied for a lifeguard job at Beccles lido and put on my CV that I was a triathlon coach. Unbeknown to me, Shaun Crowley (who runs the lido and is a fellow Beccles club member) took me on solely because he'd been secretly harbouring a dream to run a triathlon at the lido.
Jase: When we got to know the lido people and realised what an amazing crowd they were to volunteer so much of their time and just how much people genuinely loved the place, we were determined to get involved. Shaun and the lovely Iggy (Pollock) put their hands up to help and all four of us put it on between us. I don't think any of us slept the week before but we were on such a high afterwards.
Kate: I worried about everything - that no one would sign up for it, that too many people would sign up for it, that someone would seriously hurt themselves because I'd missed something crucial in my risk assessment, that the volunteer cadets wouldn't turn up, the list went on and on……
Jase: All of us worked so hard. Kate was standing on my shoulders putting up the last of the signage on lampposts at midnight the night before. The bike route crosses both Norfolk and Suffolk, so there was a lot of liaising with council officials and police and it was hard getting marshals - persuading people to stand in a field in the middle of nowhere for hours directing competitors for an event hadn't been done before. It took hours and hours but we knew once it was set up that next year would be easier. Shaun would say yes to everything no matter how difficult and Iggy was an administrative wonder. She told us not to worry and that ANYTHING can be fixed with scissors, string and gaffer tape - and she's right!
Kate: Before the event we ran some 'try a tri' sessions for those who'd never done a triathlon before and had questions that they may have thought were 'stupid' but weren't at all. I also wanted lots of 'hidden extras' for the event - a throne for the winner to sit on, a local choir to sing at the very place where runners were flagging, a really good goody bag, a video of local people wishing everyone good luck, which I'm delighted all happened. Another idea I fancy is to have people in giant bunny costumes dancing at various spots along the way. That hasn't happened yet….
What was the driving force/reason behind setting up Beccles Triathlon Club the following year?
Kate: I nagged Jason into setting up a club with me. We'd come from London as triathletes and tried to join a local club. I thought they seemed really elitist with the attitude if you weren't going to make GB they weren't interested in encouraging you. Also, they wanted us to sign up way in advance for swim sessions. We both worked unpredictable hours so that was impossible. I thought there must be room for a club that was flexible and suit 'ordinary' people.
Jase: We always thought triathlon was a bit poncy - we've seen people turning up to events with a bike rack attached to their Aston Martins! We both wanted something for everyone - no matter their sporting background, no matter how much they could afford, no matter their everyday commitments. Yes it's nice to have all the fancy kit but what impressed us more was the mum who juggled work and children and still found time to take part.
Kate (again): We put a flyer in the goody bag of that first triathlon asking people if they were interested in a club. By chance, I found those replies on my computer the other day. Many are still proud members - you know who you are!
Your greatest achievement and personal bests?
Jase: Qualifying and then racing in the GB world duathlon age group event in Spain two years ago. Also beating the train in the annual Talyllyn Race the Train event last year - 14 miles of muddy, hilly cross country. To beat the train you had to do it in less than 1 hour 45mins.
Kate: Qualifiying for GB European middle distance tri twice for my (old lady) age group. I've not made it to the actual race yet because of injury, I'm hoping I'll actually get there this year.
What have been your best & worst triathlon moments to date? (and funniest)
Jase: My worst was racing Dambuster a couple of years ago. The swim was horrendous, I was kicked, pushed and pulled as there was just too many in my wave. I really thought I was going to drown. I staggered out the lake saying I would never swim again. The funniest, was at the end of the bike leg at the Wells Triathlon. As I racked my cycle the front wheel fell off. Moments earlier I'd whizzed down a hill at nearly 40mph!
Kate: My funniest was a duathlon in Richmond Park, London. I turned the wrong way at the crucial moment where you either headed to the finishing chute or went on to run a second lap. I found myself being clapped and cheered by the crowd who thought I'd won. Mortified, I did a quick U-turn and the adrenaline from my embarrassment got me over a 6ft fence and back to where I should have been. My timing chip was very confused. My worst race is a reoccurring one. Jase stands on the sidelines shouting: "You can go faster". I can't tell you how much I swear.
Why did you step down from heading the club after three years?
Both: We realised we didn't have time to do everything we wanted to do with the club and Jase's mum was very ill and we needed to spend more time with her in Wales. Also, with our ever increasing injuries, we wanted to concentrate on getting the best we could be before our creeky legs gave up.
We thought Suzy would be ideal to take over. When we asked her she was so shocked and wasn't sure that she could do it. However, we saw a glint in her eye that said she could. We threw her in the deep end - and she came up smiling. We are knocked out with what she's done to develop the club. We are ridiculously proud of it even though we can so rarely get to the sessions. Our daughter Lois designed the Beccles tri club kit (we think it's very, very cool looking and suits everyone, no matter their size). When she sees anyone wearing it she still gets goosebumps.
What is your motivation and who is/are your inspiration/s?
Both: Undoubtedly, those people who take part in training and events in pain or with disabilities. Between us we've had six operations to correct injuries caused through sport - but this is nothing compared to what others put up with. We stand in awe of them.
Favourite bit of kit?
Jase: My Cervelo bike which I splashed out on with some army retirement money. I keep it for racing only.
Kate: My trainers which sit by my back door. They allow me to keep fit, stress bust and give me total freedom to go where I want to anytime.
Do you have a motto and any special pre-race routines?
Jase: Foam roll every time. I only use my motto if there is someone strutting around thinking they are great before the race. I say: "I may not beat them but I'll die trying".
Kate: My pre-race routine is to go to the loo, lots of times.
My motto that I usually say on the day and in the days leading up to a race is: "No, I'm not going to die, it doesn't matter if I come last (someone has to) and it's just another day".
What advice would you give to someone entering their first event and tips for improvers?
Jase: Everyone feels the same before a race, nerves, expectations, worry - you aren't strange for feeling those things and you're not on your own.
Kate: Don't believe everything a (non sporty) doctor may tell you, just your own instinct. If I'd taken the advice of one doctor and given up running I'd never have made the GB team.
Races and events on your bucket list?
Jase: Ours are both running races…more cross country events for me.
Kate: Anything that's a bit quirky. The Dunerunnner events across the sand dunes are fab but I also love a race in Derbyshire where you get taken up a hill in an old Charabanc and dropped off in the middle of nowhere for the start.