The Eastern Ontario based Cornwall Multisport is fairly new, but grew fairly quick because of a few unique initiatives and programs. We spoke with their president Rob Allen.
ST: How old and how large is the Cornwall Multisport club?
Rob: The Cornwall Multisport Club was originally founded by Pat Clarke in the spring of 2005. Since that first year, the club has grown from 31 members to 129 in the second year and finally a huge jump to 275 this year. The quick growth of the club is a testament to the original vision of the club, the identity created in the community and constant communication among members keeping all members informed.
ST: Is the Cornwall Multisport club offering races for their members?
Rob: The club offers 2 run road/trail races, a fall Duathlon and a kid’s only race day. The first run is a prediction 5km Poker run with participants collecting playing cards at every km. Prizes for closest predicted time and best poker hand are awarded at the end of the event. The second race is a 10km team event that takes place over multiple courses with one finishing area. 2007 was the first year for our annual RBCKids day. This day is devoted to members of the club and the community less than 16 years of age. Finally in the fall, we put on a 2k/15k/4k Duathlon.
ST: In addition to racing what are some of the activities offered to club members?
Rob: The club has regular training nights for running and cycling. There is a strong affiliation with the Cornwall Cycle Club and Cornwall Sea Lions Masters swim programs that allow members more opportunities to train year round. On the social side we offer 3 events. A Spring Meet and Greet introduces new members to the club in a friendly environment. A summer BBQ allows members to kick back and relax. Our year end AGM includes our awards night and this year also included a wine tasting. Of course, there are also the non-formal events such as runs on Christmas Day, Resolution Run, Beer Mile and Hash House Harrier-like events that can take place from time to time.
ST: What do you do to encourage new members to join?
The club tries to encourage any person, regardless of ability, to join the club. We offer our race and social events free of charge to members. New members are encouraged to draw on the experience of seasoned members in order to achieve their individual fitness goals.
ST: Who are some of speakers/guests you had?
Rob: This year was the first year we have brought in a guest speaker. In the spring we had Rick Hellard come in for a talk on Triathlon, training and goal setting. Rick has just completed a Joe Bonness trifecta of 3 Iron Distance races in 3 months – all under 9:15. Hopefully 2008 will bring in more guest speakers for the members of the club.
ST: Is there anything else that you would say makes Cornwall Multisport unique?
Rob: While the Cornwall Multisport Club fosters the pursuit of competitive individual goals this does not overshadow our primary mandate to encourage involvement all abilities. Our executive endeavors to design interesting and fun non-competitive events to bring members and their families together in a welcoming environment.
ST: How old is the oldest and how old is the youngest member?
Rob: The youngest member in the club is 5 and we have 7 members over the age of 60 with the oldest being 67.
ST: Does the Cornwall Multisport team race in other parts of the world?
Rob: Most of the racing is done within the local regions in Ontario, Quebec and New York. We have members who have completed Ironman races in Penticton, Lake Placid and Florida. Others have completed running races in Virginia Beach, Boston, NYC, Washington and a Reach the Beach Relay team in New Hampshire. Our only transatlantic member was Christian Belair who completed the Paris-Brest-Paris cycling race.
ST: We heard your club offers a very successful “Learn to run” program. Can you tell us more about it?
Rob: The Learn To Run program was initiated by our training coordinator Gilles Parisien. The original idea was to promote running as a cheap, viable means to improve physical fitness and give back to the community that shares our run/cycle/swim routes. The only cost of the program is to join the club for the year. Our initial expectation was to have about 12-15 people sign up for our inaugural 2006 clinic. By clinic start day, in the middle of February, there were 71 keen hopefuls attending the first class. In 2007 this number grew to 107. To our knowledge, this is the largest LTR clinic being offered in Canada. The LTR program is 10 weeks long with a featured local guest speaker each week. The guest speakers discuss a variety of subjects, including nutrition, stretching, injury prevention and apparel and shoe selection.
ST: Anything else we should know?
Rob: The committee that has served the Cornwall Multisport Club should be congratulated on their hard work in the amazing growth of such a young club. The club was lucky to have the experience to start the successful LTR clinic, a graphic designer (the same one that designed the new Slowtwitch logo) willing to give his time to provide the club with an identity and many others volunteering their time organizing the race and social events. The explosion in triathlon and running in our small city is incredible since the club was formed. The LTR program even attracted the mayor of the city – and yes he had to pay like everyone else! On the horizon, the club will be active in the pursuit of a new field house and running track being proposed in the city of Cornwall.