Brief History of TriClub Doha

TriClub Doha founded in March 2013

TriClub Doha was the vision of Nicholaas (Nickel) Nijman, a young Dutch triathlete in Doha in the spring of 2013. At this point the triathlon scene was mainly triathletes who had come to Doha and didn’t quite fit into weekly Friday rides with QCR due to having time trial bikes. The only large race in the region was the original Abu Dhabi Triathlon (with the unusual distance of 1km swim, 100km bike and 10km run.) An inaugural general meeting appointed a small committee of triathletes, a group of 4, Ewan Cameron, Emily Kelly, Chris Dite and Nickel and the initial task was to plan some triathlons in Doha, since there is little point having a triathlon club if there are no races to enter.

GMC TriSeries Doha…the first Triathlon Series in Qatar

In November 2013, with the grateful sponsorship received from Mannai Corporation and the generous support of Aspire Logistics, the GMC TriSeries Doha was launched at Aspire Zone, featuring a 500m swim in an indoor 50m pool, a bumpy bike ride on a cobbled road and a run around the outside of the Aspire dome. That season the participants grew from 80 in the first race to 150 in the fourth and we took off. We also received permission to swim at the Pearl on a Saturday morning and soon we had a regular twenty to thirty triathletes swimming and running on a weekly basis. Our first tour group, of around 40 triathletes and families, travelled to Abu Dhabi Triathlon and “Team Doha” became prominent in the region.

2014-2015: More than a TriSeries

The 2014-2015 season saw the number of triathletes participating continue to grow and the committee got a bit larger. We launched our first Tri-Suit and continued to grow the GMC TriSeries from 150 participants to 220. That season saw new races appear on the calendar including Challenge half ironman races in Bahrain and Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Triathlon morphed into the ITU Abu Dhabi. Team Doha sent large delegations to all three of these international races. We also worked together with Dukhan water sports club to run a better quality race on the west coast of Qatar.

2015-2016: The club makes a step change by investing in timing gear

In the summer of 2015, Nickel returned to the Netherlands and Ewan Cameron was appointed President of TriClub Doha. The committee took a big bet to invest in a mylaps timing system and the concept of membership was introduced to the club to help fund the cost of the timing system and to purchase the timing chips, which cost QAR150 each, and to build a solid database of active triathletes in Qatar. We also created an alliance with Carbon Wheels bike shop to distribute the timing chips and collect memberships. In total we recruited 405 members, more than double what we expected. In this season we were able to start free monthly Monday night Duathlons at Lusail and Saturday morning Aquathlons at the Pearl. As the only race timers in Qatar, the club assisted with timing several race events, including the now defunct Aspire Aquathon Series, the Torch Run and Dukhan Triathlon.

2016-2017: Expansion to Doha Triathlon and the Dukhan TriSeries

Hatem ElSafty was appointed as President in the largest year of expansion for the club. The club hired our first employee, Michelle Shillabeer, an experienced former employee of British Swimming,  as part-time club coordinator to assist with membership and club administration. Membership remained stable at 389 members and the club introduced a second triathlon series, Dukhan TriSeries in conjunction with the QP Dukhan Watersports Club and Dukhan English School with Tim Drew serving as race director. This series was hugely successful. The club also continued to run the GMC TriSeries, although the venue was moved to Qatar Foundation’s Education City due to building work taking place at Aspire. The club also worked closely with the Qatar Triathlon Federation and Qatar Museums to organise the inaugural Doha Triathlon at the Museum of Islamic Art Park in January 2017, with Hatem serving as race director. The first off-road triathlon was held at Fuwarit beach. More than 2,000 participants took part in these 8 triathlons. The club continued to run free monthly aquathlons and duathlons and weekly Saturday morning swim, run and breakfast, introducing new venues at the Intercontinental Doha hotel and MIA Park.

2017-2018: Our Club is finally incorporated at TriDoha LLC(G)

Hatem continued as President for the second year and was instrumental in formalised the legal status of the club. We incorporated as a company within the Qatar Financial Centre as TriDoha LLC(G), a LLC guaranteed by its members, a common structure for clubs and associations to incorporate. Membership in the season jumped to 505, a growth of 30%. The club was able to run 3 triathlons at Qatar Foundation during the season and was instrumental in organising the Ghariya triathlon with Qatar Triathlon Federation. During the season, the club organised 20 free races for our members during the season. Besides the 8 regular Monday night Lusail Duathlons, 8 Saturday morning Aquathlons and the off-road triathlon, we ran two oceanman events at Khor Al Adaid and a long course Duathlon at Rawdat Rashid. Working with local coaches, a training program for our members was introduced, running five free coached sessions each week for our members, with two weekday sessions at Education City facilities. The club sent large teams overseas, with over 70 members participating in the Ironman 70.3 Colombo and a club-sponsored team taking part in the European and Middle East Ironman 70.3 TriClub Championships in Barcelona in May, where the club finished a respectable 8th place in Division IV. 

2018-2019: Expansion of the Qatar Foundation Series
Due to the expansion of the Qatar Foundation Race Series, the club hired our second employee, Lea Koivisto, as part-time Race Manager to run the 12 planned events at Qatar Foundation in the 2018-2019 season: 4 Triathlons, 4 Aquathlons and 4 Junior Duathlons with strong participation across the season. Towards the end of the season this expanded further with the introduction of the Qatar Foundation Running Series which hosted 2 races. The club also organised an Olympic distance in Dukhan Watersports Club and the financial situation of the club improved significantly. A members training program with 5 free sessions per week was introduced howeverMembership fell slightly to 458. During this season a new Qatar Triathlon Series ( consisting of 5 triathlons organised by the Qatar Triathlon Federation was launched with traithlons at Katara, Al Ghariya, MIA, Lusail City and the Pearl. 175 of members took part in the series and TriClub Doha members made up 55% of the participants in all 5 races and dominated the podiums at all levels. Our members participated in over 30 different Ironman events with over 46 members taking part in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Oman in Muscat in March 2019, 10 members qualifying for the 70.3 World Championships in South Africa and 2 members participated in Kona. In conjuction with the UN ILO and the Embassy of the Netherlands, TriClub Doha organised the inaugural "workers run" with 1,000 workers participating in a fun run at Aspire Park.

2019-2020: Full time staff takes the club up a level, but COVID-19 cuts the season short
We started this season with the hiring of our first full time staff member, Collin Allin supported by is wife Hildy Allin. The New Balance Run Club, with monday night runs at Katara Hills was launched over the summer. Besides the 4 racing series at Qatar Foundation, the "Dukhan Watersports Club Ultra Triathlon" was introduced in December 2019, forming one of the races of the Qatar Triathlon Series, with an Ultra distance triathlon (2.25km swim, 80km bike and 20km run) as well as Olympic and Sprint distances. Or membership grew to 489 in the season and club members took part in 43 Ironman events in 2019, with a strong field of 33 attended Ironman 70.3 Oman in February, where we placed 4th in the TriClub competition, and a group of 20 were training hard for Ironman 70.3 Greece in April. However the season was cut short by COVID-19 which resulted in the closure of pools and beaches, and restrictions on mobility resulting in the cancellation of all events from March 2020. Brendan Germishuys, the Club's operation manager since December 2019 stepped up, aided by Hesham Shaban, the club's coordinator, to organise virtual race series involving Zwift cycling duathlons and challenges. As the restrictions started to be lifted, we reintroduced the summer duathlon series, moved to the new Olympic Cycle track and incorporating social distancing measures. 

2020-2021...A new Season evolving to the social distancing era
We are in the process of launching the new season, taking into consideration the restrictions on the number of people who can gather at events and incorporating social distancing measures. We have an ambitous calender for the season and remain optimtistic that the season will see the club continue to grow in strength.