From humble beginnings that could be charitably described as ‘experimental’, the East Grinstead Triathlon will be celebrating its thirtieth instalment this May. EGTC member David Pawsey describes its long and colourful history…


With the explosion in triathlon in the last decade it could be hard for some competitors to imagine a time when the sport was just finding its feet. The latest British Triathlon figures show that in 2013 there were 993 events held around the UK. 

From huge 10,000+ competitor events like the London Triathlon to small, local club events with less than 100 entrants over a range of distances, triathletes are spoilt for choice nowadays. In the main, regardless of size, these races are extremely well organised with efficient transition areas and bike racking.

But it wasn’t always quite like this. Back in 1986 a group of sporting enthusiasts in East Grinstead, West Sussex decided to put on a triathlon. Little did they know the challenges they would face and the impact the race would have for years to come. 

The class of ‘86

According to Martin Darlison, now head coach of East Grinstead Triathlon Club, the race was originally the brainchild of Dirk van der Starre, who was manager of the King’s Leisure Centre (which has served as EGTC HQ for the past 30 years) at the time.