Our work simply wouldn't be possible without the hundreds of volunteers who help deliver our events and activities each year, helping inspire thousands of children to get more active using the sport of triathlon. Mike Leatherbarrow is one of Triathlon Trust’s amazing volunteers. He is a keen runner, has helped to deliver triathlon events to thousands of children and has met some of sport’s amazing superstars along the way.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Mike!
My day job is a Network Manager at a secondary school based in Formby, near Liverpool, and for the past few years I have volunteered at many sport-related events. I also love running, which I admit I am seriously addicted to! (Ed - and he’s quite good at!) I also like motorbikes, astronomy and mountain walking.
When did you start volunteering with the Triathlon Trust?
Three years ago, I was invited to volunteer at a Triathlon Trust event in Liverpool by a colleague who I’d volunteered with on the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and who knew about the Triathlon Trust’s work.
What's the best thing about volunteering for the Triathlon Trust?
It starts from the moment I receive the phone call asking if I am available to help to deliver an event! What the Triathlon Trust can achieve with a small core team and a couple of vans loaded with bikes, cones, banners and medals, is truly amazing. You only have to see the genuine joy and excitement in every child that participates, regardless of ability, to know how truly wonderful it is to be part of that.
For me, being part of the Triathlon Trust team helping to make these events happen for tens of thousands of children every year is what I love best and I see the team as my second family… in fact at times during the year I spend more time with them than my actual family!
What has been your highlight of volunteering?
There have been so many highlights over the years, including helping deliver an event for over 1,300 children in one day, to supporting a teenager who had never even ridden a bicycle before to complete their first ever triathlon, to working alongside the Brownlee brothers at their Brownlee Foundation and Brownlee Triathlon events. As spectacular as those events are, the team still have the same level of enthusiasm for each and every event, no matter the size or venue.
A personal highlight was helping deliver a mini-triathlon for local schools at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as it took me back to where I first began volunteering in Sport as a London 2012 Games Maker.
What have been the benefits of volunteering with the Trust?
I have gained the confidence to work with, and talk in front of, big groups of people, to work independently as well as with a team and to be responsible for overseeing other volunteers. I have also learnt how to run specific areas of an event, to ensure it happens smoothly, whilst under pressure.
Volunteering has also allowed me to visit many parts of the country, and communities, that I have never visited before, and I have volunteered with people from all walks of life. I have also been very privileged to have met, and worked with, many inspirational elite triathletes and paratriathletes, including Lauren Steadman who is an Ambassador for the Triathlon Trust.
What other volunteering do you do?
I volunteered as an assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme for over 10 years, and was a Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics Games. Since then, I have volunteered at European Athletics, Tour de Yorkshire and many British Triathlon events. I am part of the core team of our recently set up local parkrun event, and I have also been a Visually Impaired Guide Runner for nearly three years, covering distances from 5km to marathons, both in the UK and America.
One of my goals is to complete a triathlon (the team will tell you that I say this every year!) but my swimming is, well... non-existent. This led to a hysterical situation when I recently accompanied my blind friend to a paratriathlon disability day as her guide – except she ended up helping me through the swim! I did manage to try out my new wetsuit at the Liverpool Triathlon where I volunteered as a paratriathlon swim exit handler. It was an amazing event and I felt privileged to play a part
“Mike is one of the friendliest, most-dedicated people I’ve ever met”, says the Trust’s CEO, Mike Jubb, “His commitment to wanting to help others really is second to none. Without supporters like Mike, we wouldn’t be able to make such a significant impact and I’m honoured that he’s chosen to help the Trust to change children’s lives through triathlon”.
Feeling inspired to join us at an event in 2017? Join us as an Event Volunteer and you'll help to deliver a fun-filled day that will give children the chance to give triathlon a 'tri' and inspire them to get more active. A variety of roles are available and no experience is necessary - just energy, enthusiasm and a smile! To find out more, see our Volunteering page.