Aberdeenshire is recognised for its Outstanding Contribution in awards

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Live Life Aberdeenshire won the Outstanding Contribution award in the Triathlon Scotland 2019 presentation ceremony recently.

The event at Carnegie Conference Centre in Dunfermline on Sunday November 24 celebrated another fantastic year for the sport.

The annual general meeting in the morning was followed in the afternoon by the annual awards, supported by Gallagher’s.

Nominated by Triathlon Scotland members, the 12 awards acknowledged the athletes, coaches and volunteers making a difference to triathlon across Scotland.

Bert McIntosh, boss of Echt-based McIntosh Plant Hire, has played a big part in the area being a triathlon hotbed, and set up the Knockburn Loch triathlon facility in 2007.

Live Life Aberdeenshire is an innovative approach to delivering sports and cultural services on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council.

Aberdeenshire Council have supported triathlon since their very first event back in November 1988 in Alford. The race organiser, Andrew Miller, was persuaded to host it by Andrew Manwell (University of Aberdeen).

The event had 28 entries and it snowed the night before so for safety it was postponed to the following week!

From that first event in Alford, Ellon was added in 1989 then the Aberdeen Triathlon Series grew to an average of three events per year, then about five in the early 1990s and seven by 1998, all still organised by Andrew, who introduced split times with manual results, then came the STA ‘Beaver’ results system (pre-database and XLS) – which Andrew described as a headache, literally.

Over the years it is estimated that Live Life Aberdeenshire have collectively hosted 159 events, thanks to the dedication of the event delivery team which has moved from Andrew, to Steve Smith (founder of Three Peaks Triathletes) in 1999 to Henry Trotter in 2003.

Henry was the driving force behind the inception of chip timing in 2007, and can still be found at events with his company Thistle Timing.

In 2013 Steven Barrett took the reins from Henry and apparently loves organising triathlons, duathlons, aquathlon and aquabikes very much, as he is now in charge of 17 of them each year.

The winners have also benefited from local sponsorship, credited with keeping the series alive over the years. Gold Crest Ltd were sponsors for six years and then McIntosh Plant Hire Ltd took over as headline sponsor, aiding in keeping entry costs low and funding the purchase of timing equipment.

Moreover, Bert McIntosh’s personal passion and enthusiasm for the sport has been invaluable over the years, and led to Scotland having their very own premier purpose built triathlon venue in Aberdeenshire, Knockburn Loch.

Triathlon Scotland CEO Jane Moncrieff said of Bert last year: “We are delighted to be working hand in hand with Bert, who is an inspiration to us all. “He is one of Scotland’s triathlon treasures and a true advocate for our sport. His dedication to enabling more people to take part in triathlon, alongside still competing himself is just fantastic.”

Customer satisfaction is at its highest levels, with 100% of events noted for promoting positive mental health.

The award nominator added that the choice of local events are excellent, making good use of council pools and great cycle routes and run laps. “There is a lot of humour, support and encouragement. It got me started in triathlon, as well as 100s of others.”