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Volunteers: the lifeblood of triathlon

Volunteers are the backbone of the sports industry; entrenched in sporting clubs and communities around the state. In Australia, it is estimated that volunteers donate up to 158 million hours to sport each year, and many donate their time to early mornings starts for triathlon.

This week Triathlon Victoria celebrates the volunteers who support our sport as part of National Volunteer Week. One such volunteer is Allisha Oxley from Eltham Triathlon Club.

Oxley has only been involved with triathlon since 2015 and over her five years at the club has not only managed to find a love for competing in multisport, she has also found many ways to volunteer her time to help triathlon.

Oxley currently leads Eltham Triathlon Club’s committee as President, while also volunteering as Technical Official at race events and competing.

Starting as a recreational runner and amateur cyclist, Oxley stumbled upon triathlon through a friends social media post. For someone who enjoys a challenge, it was not long before she registered for her first race.

“After the initial nerves had gone, I found myself enjoying the race. People were so friendly, encouraging, and cheering me on – I’d finally found a sport that I really loved,” said Oxley.

It was a quick Google search that led Oxley to the Eltham Triathlon Club, after deciding she needed some help with the swim leg of her race. It was the welcoming club environment and support from the club members that helped her prepare for every starting line.

In 2018 Oxley joined the club’s committee. With a few years of experience as an event director for a local event, Oxley thought it would be great to give back to a club that had helped her develop in triathlon over the years.

“Having structure is key to managing it all, setting time allocated to training, club committee work or help officiate at a local event is key,” says Oxley.

An outstanding volunteer herself, Oxley says the support of club volunteers help to share the load and provide a strong backbone to not only the club but also the local community.

“I’m quite lucky to have an awesome committee who help to spread the workload for the club. Without their equally hard work and commitment, I don’t think I’d be able to manage all these different tasks.”

The Eltham Triathlon Club has been successful in running a series of local races and Oxley puts the success down to the unwavering commitment of club volunteers, support from facilities and the local community.

“We have seen a massive cultural shift in the past 12-months and our club members are becoming more and more involved. At some races, we find ourselves with so many volunteers that we almost have as many as we do competitors.”

Nurturing a welcoming and inclusive club environment at Eltham has encouraged growth, and it’s thanks to volunteers like Oxley who support club philosophies to deliver these dividends.

To all our club and community volunteers – thank you – your contribution is what helps to make triathlon special.

Volunteers in triathlon are essential in keeping clubs and events running. Get in touch with your club or Triathlon Victoria about how you can give back to your club and triathlon.

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