The origins of triathlon at the University of Cambridge can be traced back to around 2000. Triathlon had just debuted at the Olmypics and popularity for the sport began to develop in Britain. At this time, there was no independent triathlon society but there existed a triathlon Captain within Cambridge University Cycling Club (CUCC). Initially, various Cambridge Unviersity Hare & Hounds (CUH&H) runners populated this subset of CUCC.
The first Varsity triathlon took place in 2003, ten years before CUTriC became an official university sports club in 2013. Cambridge showed early dominance with the women taking the first team title in 2003 and retaining it in 2004.
In 2004, Emma Pooley (then Triathlon Captain with CUCC) was instrumental in gaining approval of half-blue status for women. The status involved ‘top 3 in Cambridge Varsity and qualifying for your age group in an international triathlon event’. In 2005, the first official tri club charter was created with governing members, kit, etc. Women’s half blue qualification was downgraded to coming in the top third of women at BUSA (now BUCS). There were around 60 women competing at the time.
The earliest triathlon varsity match report can be traced back to 2005 and took place in Eversholt, Buckinghamshire on Sunday 15th May. On the women’s side, Cambridge had their share of misfortune when their top woman, then current duathlon world champion in her age group, Emma Pooley, suffered a puncture early in the bike course. Rather than give up, she ran the 10km to transition barefoot pushing her punctured bike all along the way. She then proceeded to run the fastest 5km of all the women on the day. Despite the team’s efforts, Cambridge would hand the team trophy to the dark blues for the first time. On the men’s side, Cambridge’s Steven Stuart dominated the bike course and held off dark blue competitors to take the individual win. With strong performances from Matt Robinson and Ed Richardson, Cambridge men won the team competition with a margin of nearly 8 minutes.
2006: James Gill (now Senior Treasurer) wins individual title and Cambridge win men’s team title.
2007: James Third wins individual title Cambridge men win team title (James Third, Alex Starling, Henry Gomersall). Oxford women dominate, taking individual and team titles. James Third also won the BUSA sprint triathlon in 2007.
2007/2008: First BUSA trial duathlon event takes place in November 2007. The event is held as part of the Chilly Duathlon in Castle Combe, Whiltshire and has continued here ever since. Varsity Triathlon was once again held at Blenheim Palace. James Third wins, James Gill second and Cambridge men take the team title.
2009: Club is still a ‘society’ which means it was registered with CUSU but not funded by the Sports Syndicate. Varsity Triathlon host moved from Blenheim Palace to British National Sprint Championships at Emberton Park. Along with the varsity scoring system, the ‘mob match’ scoring system is introduced. First unofficial varsity duathlon was trialled as part of the Big Cow duathlon at Milton Keynes Bowl. James third was 2nd, James Gill was 4th and Oxford win men’s team title.
2010/2011 - Varsity Triathlon held at Grendon Lakes, 7 days after BUCS. Cambridge win by a mere 22 seconds while Oxford women win by 14 minutes. Oxford win both mob matches. First official Varsity Duathlon organised. The event took place at the Big Cow Duathlon in Milton Keynes and consisted of a 4.5km run, 13km bike and 4.2km run. Cambridge made history by achieving compreshesive victoties in both the mens and ladies races. Alex Young and Lucy Gossage took the individual titles by considerable margins
2011/2012 - Richard Secker-Johnson (then club captain) applies for club status. Oxford win both varsity duathlon/triathlon matches against Cambridge 3-1.
2012/2013: CUTriC officially becomes a university club. 2-2 draw in Varsity triathlon. Cambridge men win by 41 seconds. Women win by 7 minutes. Womens mob won by Cambridge. Men’s mob won by Oxford. Cambridge entered 30 athletes, Oxford entered 50.
Clear that triathlon at Cambridge has developed in parallel with its development worldwide. Initial group formed post olympic debut and then official sports club following London olympics where Brownlees dominated and triathlon participation/membership boomed.