Infographic: Great Britain, The Action Nation

Swimming, running and cycling are the three biggest participation sports in the UK. Cyclists are the people that tend to do all three.

I recently volunteered to captain our running club’s Triathlon London League squads for 2015, a joint position I shared with a fellow club member. The key responsibility is to raise awareness of the London League and increase interest from club members from other disciplines across all levels of abilities, so that we can have the most number of participations. The higher the number, the more points we receive as a competing club.

The main issue to address, of course, is access and possible barriers to access. Triathlon is already known as a hobby that consumes a considerable amount of time and money. This is largely due to the emphasis on the mastery of three disciplines: swimming, cycling and running. Our club activities can be roughly divided into these three areas, but getting everyone to do all three, even for those who can accomplish all – and thus joining the 5% – can be a challenge. A lot of preparation has to be put into training for the three disciplines, and safety is paramount when water and bicycle are thrown into the mix.

So where do we begin in raising the interest within members who don’t necessarily consider triathlon for their races? The data published by Sport Marketing Surveys in December 2014 on the three biggest participation sports in the United Kingdom – swimming, running and cycling – provides a clue.

Great Britain: The Action Nation


The data in the report suggests that whilst swimming is the most popular of the three, cyclists are more likely cross over to swimming or running, or do all three. The infographic created by GLUE Studio provides a visual summary of the survey, but you can find out more about the findings at

Cycling as agency

The survey provides a glimpse into the nation’s sporting habits, but an in-depth study could potentially be carried out to expand on specific data such as cycling as the agency for multi-sport adoption. Owning a bicycle, after all, facilitates a key determinant in accessibility: mobility. At least now we have an idea about the correlation between economic status, infrastructure and the effortlessness with which triathlon can be adopted at grassroots level.


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