Glasgow Triathlon Club

Swimming, Cycling, Running. We do it best!

GTC athlete of the month: Geoff O’Brien

It is Geoff’s fourth year as a member of GTC, although he has been involved in the junior section for about six years. He has also more recently become a trustee of GTC, the charity.

Geoff discovered the triathlon club through his son. He says: “My son Cam joined GTC when he was nine. He had finished swimming lessons but he didn’t want to join a swimming club. 

“However, my wife Dianne and I wanted him to develop his swimming ability further because we see this as a lifeskill not just a sport and, during a Google search, GTC popped up.

“Cam went along and he loved it. I would take him to events and watch the adults’ races while waiting for the junior event to start and I realised a lot of other parents were getting involved so I thought that if I was there anyway I might as well give it a go.”

Family of cyclists.

The position as one of the charity trustees seemed like a natural step for Geoff. He says: “I’ve seen first hand the benefits of the training, the support that the amazing coaches provide and the welcoming environment that the club has to offer to anyone who wants to join and I wanted to support that so I took on one of the trustee roles.”

From American football to triathlon

Geoff enjoyed a range of sports before joining the triathlon club, including American football. He said: “I was involved in rugby, baseball and American football in school and university and I gained a Full Blue from Strathclyde Uni for representing GB Universities’ American Football Team.

“So, my first sports had nothing to do with triathlon. I started cycling in 2010 and I bought my first Bianchi in 2012, but I didn’t start swimming until 2017.”

Unsurprisingly, Geoff reports that he has seen his biggest improvements in swimming since joining GTC. He said: “Before I started going to the coached swim sessions, I thought I was doing well if I swam two lengths of the pool with a break in between. 

“I attended the development sessions and got a lot out of them. I have to give special thanks to Duggie Mac, who made small adjustments each week that I could practice between sessions.  

“I started to see improvements, which encouraged me to keep going. I am now comfortable swimming longer distances and taking part in open water events.”

Geoff and his son.
Geoff takes part in a triathlon.
Cycling is Geoff’s main sporting passion.

Why I like triathlon

Geoff likes the variety of triathlon. He says: “It’s not just a single sport and if there isn’t a pool available you can cycle and if you don’t have a bike you can run.  

“You can spend half an hour or half a day training depending on what you want to do or how you feel.  The whole family do it now so we sometimes train together, usually on a family cycle.”

Cycling is Geoff’s favourite discipline. He says: “I really enjoy being out on the bike and we have done a couple of family cycling holidays, which have been amazing. I gained my accreditation at the velodrome, too. 

“I have to confess I have never really enjoyed running although I am trying to do bit more of that too but I would rather be out on my bike.”

A plan to race longer

Geoff’s race history includes his first triathlon, a novice distance, in 2017.  He chose the club-organised triathlon, Bishopbriggs, as his first sprint distance triathlon in 2019.

Geoff says: “I enjoyed both novice and sprint distances in their own way  and I have also liked taking part in team relay triathlons.  It was great to take second place in the team relay in Bute as part of the kids’ team in 2017. I am hoping to enter my first standard distance triathlon this year.”

Geoff is also hoping to buy a new bike and he aspires generally to “get fitter, be healthy and enjoy triathlon”.

Geoff’s triathlon tips 

  • Join a club
  • Go to the training sessions
  • Enjoy it. 

He says: “I used to think that triathlon was an elite sport only for the very fit but I am living proof that anyone can do it.”