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Making triathlons great again! The host's point of view.

On April 6th we organized our second Triathlon competition - Den Helder 2024. And honestly, organizing becomes easier with every event you create. With a script on who to contact, time management etc in place it becomes a bit easier.

Most fighters have never seen or endured the challenge of a triathlon competition. Back in the day it was the masterpiece of dueling at the stage of the world championship. But after some years it disappeared to give more room to individual skill sets in the loose categories, which in itself is a good thing. I have seen some fighters excel in one category and be just a plain embarrassment in another. With that in mind that is also the biggest challenge, trying to find people that actually are still eager to fight this category. Because with a single fight taking three times as long as a conventional duel and also being multi disciplined you are asking a lot of your competitor. But I can promise any duelist and even profighter(!) that this challenge is satisfying and rewarding in learning to know your own strengths but also weaknesses.

For fellow organizers, it will be a bit more difficult to attain fighters for your tournament in this format. So why would you want to organize this?

photo Barend Verijzer

Pro’s of organizing a Triathlon.

Not every venue can hold 36 athletes + support. Nor a full Buhurt tournament. Maybe your target audience is from all ages and have never seen medieval combat before, so pro-fights might be a bit too much. That’s where the Triathlon comes in handy!

When having a time frame of about 6-7 hours, it is possible to have 12 fighters compete in a poule system consisting of 25 fights.

What I also noticed, from the organizer point of view. When you have fighters compete for more than two minutes, and with the variation the triathlon brings. Your visitors are more inclined to stay a bit longer. Maybe even getting an extra drink or a souvenir from the stands. Because let's face it. Organizing is expensive and you want to earn some revenue. After a bit of time, people will be cheering the names of their favorites. It was great to see kids screaming for the victory of Bohumil from “White Company!” or an entire crowd going with the flow with the antics from Dany from “Black hawks of Tourraine.”

photo Barend Verijzer

In the background.

Organizing is quite the ordeal. And it’s impossible to get this all done without the volunteers from “Sport en zalencomplex de Draaikolk.” But what you also need is people from your own ranks. Time keepers, administrators, someone who loves to tell all about the sport over the microphone, a skilled marshal and probably from your own ranks, fighters who know what a proper hit is and are able to count the hits. This last bit is intense, so in an ideal world maybe have an extra person so you can switch around a bit. Last year, we had the luck that Felix (Felixderritter on Youtube) was so great to host the live stream. This year we had the luck of Medieval Combat Netherlands that experimented with a new livestream format of a professional level. This helped the viewers at home to see the points fighters got DURING their fights and who took the win. It was combined with the actual scoresheets, so it wasn’t as impacting as we were first afraid for.

photo Barend Verijzer

Don’t forget the breaks!

Something that also needs mentioning is your time management. Making sure fighters don’t have to fight back to back or have too much free time in between, this last bit there is still some improvement for us. But not only fighters need breaks. Your core volunteers also would like a sip of water, some coffee or even a small meal on the day! So don’t forget to give them a break too. Because let’s face it. The further the day goes, the more important is their skill set in counting points and taking decisions.Cherish your volunteers because they matter.

And don’t worry about the quietness in the arena! Get some soft kit in the arena and let the kids fight out their battles and have some fun. It will be a great experience for them, and they maybe can even “fight” a competitor or get a cool selfie! 

photo Barend Verijzer

Lessons learned.

This year our crowd was meager. It didn’t help that it was the first day of proper spring (the whole week was 11⁰C, Saturday it was 24⁰C with a lot of sun) and some other big events in the area. But mostly our advertising and promotion strategy needs some reworking to get more visitors at the venue and get it across multiple online platforms to get all ages in. So that’s something we will be focusing on next time and also a bigger promotion period instead of just a few weeks beforehand. 

By Fabian Kuiper

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