What are the events all about? Who are they aimed at?
We are running two events over the weekend of September 10th and 11th. We have the only closed-road triathlon on the south coast and we are launching The Sport and Fitness Show.
As a mum, I wanted to create an interactive, free family event where activity loving people could spend as long as they wanted. Visitors can try a multitude of activities, know the children will be worn out at the end of the day and hopefully, as the icing on the cake, they will have managed to buy themselves something new and interesting from our broad range of exhibiters.
There is a lot going on. Heart Radio will be there with their bus and the angels, we have a stage with a variety of classes for visitors to join in. Zumba UK are bringing a Master Trainer, Les Mills are organising classes, we have ballet fit, Calesthenics and kick-boxing. You can join in on a broomstick with crazy Muggle Quidditch, try bubble football or volleyball. All the have-a-go activities are also free. We will even have a ski slope, so that kids can ski by the sea. Sussex FA are bringing blind football plus women’s football too. The list goes on and on.
You can entertain your kids for a morning or an afternoon, eat some great healthy food, have a craft beer or cider or sit by the beach and watch loads of brilliant competitors doing mad stuff.
The Brighton and Hove Triathlon takes place on the Sunday. Entrants will swim in the sea, then cycle on closed roads from the Peace Statue down to Wish Road completing the three disciplines with a fabulous run on the promenade. We have three different race distances so that complete novices can compete for the first time in the safest and most controlled environment. You can also enter in the Corporate Challenge in a relay team, we have some great prizes. We are also putting on a Scootathlon for both kids and Adults on the Saturday. I am not sure that we could pack anything else into it if we tried!
How did the idea of the events develop?
My business partner, Charlie Hepburn of Vivid Event Group, and I had been talking about putting on a sports event for a while. We wanted to create something where kids and families can come and try different activities and experience lots of both new and familiar activities. I have been in and around the sports industry for quite a few years. I have two boys with Daley Thompson, so I have attended all kinds of sporting events for many years - from the glitz and glamour of Olympics and Laureus Sports Awards to my kids’ rugby tours and community sports days. I know what works to create a good day out for active people. John Lunt, London Olympic Competition Manager, who organised the Olympic triathlon and founded Human Race, and I got together to discuss The Sport and Fitness Show and whether there may be an appetite in Brighton for a major triathlon. He had always wanted to put a triathlon on here and so it seemed logical to team up and create a big sporting festival over the same weekend. The council have been amazing and very supportive all the way through. This has all been about two-and-a-half years in the making with plenty of highs and lows along the way.
How many entrants are you expecting in the triathlon?
We are closing entries at 1,500 in year one, and then next year we will add in some more categories. We are up to about 800 entries now, so we’re not far off.
Are you a sporty person?
I absolutely love running. I run purely for pleasure. I put my headphones on, take my dog and escape. I generally run around the seafront and up on the Downs. I have had to stop for a little while to get some treatment for an injury but hope to be back in my trainers again soon. Both of my boys are very sporty so most weekends are spent pitch or trackside, somewhere in the South.
Have you always had an entrepreneurial mind-set?
In my pre-children life, I used to put on music events and I learned a lot from my Father who is a music promoter. We used to promote tours from Paul Young to Stiff Little Fingers and we both worked closely with Jim Davidson. I then worked in the marketing and events side of radio, organising their outdoor concerts and parties. I carried that on with my own business, but gave it up when I had the boys.
Presumably, you will be in favour of the proposed 50m saltwater pool on the seafront in Brighton?
I’m so excited about it, the plans are fantastic. We work with Simon Murie at SwimTrek. I think it’s really amazing. All the regeneration that is going on down in Madeira Drive can only be good for the city. It will be alongside Yellowave, so I am hoping that it will develop that area into the sporting hub of Brighton. We will most certainly be using it and encouraging others to do so.
A Sport England survey shows that about 38% of adults in the Brighton and Hove area in Sussex do activity regularly. We are significantly more active than the rest of the country. We’ve got so many great assets with the seafront, the Downs plus we have some really good gyms here and great spaces to do activity. We’ve got good, new tracks at Withdean and a Blue Flag Beach. There are no excuses to not be healthy around here.
Who are your headline sponsors?
We don’t have an overall headline sponsor for the event this year. We are talking to some very interesting companies about next year. We have lots of partners, such as High5, Zone3, BMW, USN, TravelBag and many other big name brands. We’d love to see the Sussex business community get behind the event as this will be the first of many years to come.