While we continue to deal with the Covid 19 outbreak, people are finding ways to fill their time at home. For members of The Blackwater Triathlon Club, who would usually at this time of the year be preparing for the start of the racing season, trying to keep fit without access to pools and within 5km of their homes is proving to be challenging. Group bike rides on the roads are no longer available, so we’re having group rides online instead, using apps like Zwift, which allow riders to cover miles together from the comfort of their own homes on their turbos. Resistance training with weights and swim cords has replaced actual laps in the pool, and we’re all doing more yoga and core and conditioning work than we can handle. The month of May usually sees club members taking part in early season races, such as the pool-based Joey Hannon Triathlon or any of a number of Duathlons taking place across the country. Unfortunately, all of these races have been cancelled or postponed, leaving a considerable race-sized gap in our schedules. Not for long though as one of our newer members, Anne Furlong, who completed her first triathlon last year, decided that she needed to up the ante a bit for herself. She decided to do a duathlon on her own, all within 5km of her house in Conna. She gave herself the challenge of doing a 5km run, followed by a 20km cycle and then finishing with a 3km run. She then had the bright idea of sharing her intentions on the Club’s WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook feeds and invited anyone who wanted to do join her. Anne’s suggestion hit a chord within the club, and over the weekend dozens of club members took part in the first Blackwater Triathlon Club Virtual Duathlon Challenge. The rules were simple; a 5km run/walk followed by a 20km cycle before finishing up with a 3km run/walk. All taking place within 5km of your own home and following social distancing guidelines. Anne and some of the others took up the challenge enthusiastically, creating mini transition areas and feed stations along their own particular routes. Signs were made for transition areas, start and stop lines, and family members were drafted in to marshal or man the feed stations. Some of the members even had their kids run and cycle with them. Or their dogs, not something they usually allow during a duathlon. We even attracted the attention of a few non-members who also took part, one couple even doing it in Germany! Maryam, who is originally from Iran but now lives in southern Germany, saw the event on Instagram and along with her boyfriend Tobias, who is German, did the race on Saturday. They enjoyed it so much they even cycled an extra 20km! For some of our members it was their first duathlon. For Frank Hallissey, Jonathan D’arcy, Kevin Carbary (and his dog Buster), Lisa Crowley, Siobhan Steele, Tina Kiely, Tom O’Mara and Anne Furlong it was an opportunity to try something new. In the true spirit of Blackwater Triathlon Club there was a huge element of fun and enjoyment on the day and everyone finished with a smile on their face. The club would like to give a big thank you to everyone who took part over the weekend. We would also like to thank Cork Sport Partnership and Cork City FC Walking group for promoting and sharing our event. The challenge now is to find more new and interesting back yard and socially-distanced training efforts to keep us all fit and healthy in the next few weeks. In the meantime, everybody stay home, stay in touch and most of all stay safe.