Women Only Triathlon

Women Only Triathlon Deva Divas in Chester

If you’re considering triathlon for the first time and a fun, supportive experience appeals to you, why not give a women-only triathlon a go? A women-only triathlon can be the perfect introduction to triathlon, offering a less intimidating environment, manageable race distances and a healthy dose of girl power!

Trigirl recommends: Deva Divas Women Only Triathlon in Chester

Chester-Deva-Divas-TriathlonWhen you’re seeking your first race, finding a friendly triathlon for beginners can be a daunting task. With so many races out there, how do you know which to choose? If you’re looking for a fun race with a brilliant, supportive environment, look no further than the Deva Divas women-only triathlon in Chester. 

Trigirl coach, Kristin, sat down to chat with Sally Napthen who has run Deva Divas since its inception. In this interview we find out how the race got started, some of their more unusual race categories, and why a women-only race is an excellent choice for a beginner triathlete!

Sally, can you tell me a bit about the history of Deva Divas Triathlon?

“I’ve been doing this race since 2006. I organised the first Deva Divas as a standalone triathlon. Back then there weren’t many women that did tri – which was quite surprising really. 

We found a base for it to go from and it went from there. It’s now going from strength to strength. The only year that we didn’t put the race on was the COVID year. We have expanded the events, so it now includes a quadrathlon and an aquabike as well.

Aquabike, we called that “all fun, no run”. The aquabike is a more recent addition to Deva Divas than the quadrathlon, right? 

Quadrathlon-Womens-only-triathlon“Yes. We have only run the aquabike for two years. That came about because I was invited to a wellbeing conference. The person who ran it had done Deva Divas. Generally, what I assumed was that women really didn’t want to get in the river. The bit they really didn’t like was the swim.

When I was talking to all these women at this wellbeing conference, many said ‘oh no, we don’t mind the swim. It’s just that we can’t run’. There were several reasons, but it was mainly down to either injury or medical reasons. ‘We can cycle, we can swim, we just can’t run!’

So that was why we put the aquabike on, to be more inclusive. Some women could come along because they wanted to do an event for the atmosphere and were not bothered about being competitive.”

Aquabikes are pretty popular now, but quadrathlon is not such a common thing. Tell me why that is?

“One of the ladies at the tri club, had a kayak background. She has done quadrathlon (swim-kayak-bike-run) all throughout her life. And she used to say, well, can’t we do a quadrathlon? And in the end we managed to get Chester Council, to agree to a quadrathlon event. We have been running it for several years and it tends to be full each year. It is getting more popular.

I love kayaking, so that sounds brilliant. However, when I’ve looked in the past, it’s always been sold out.

“Yes, it’s very popular and it’s so lovely and friendly. The first year that I organised it, I got slated because it was a women only event.  Lots of men wanted to do it.”

What do you think the difference is in an all-women event versus a standard event?

“Well, you have still got your competitive women. You have still got women that come who may think it’s a ‘soft race’ so they will come to win. The competitive element is there. But women can come along and know that nobody is going to be elbowing them out of the way.

When there are blokes, it can be quite aggressive. When I am racing, especially when it’s long distance, I like to say hello to the cows and things like that. You enjoy it, don’t you? Whereas with some of the guys, it is just, go, go, go, all out, head down, brain off.

Unfortunately, we still hear the term ‘chicked’ and words like that. Some of the guys just can’t stand the idea of being passed by a woman.

“It’s weird, isn’t it? But it’s such a lovely atmosphere at Divas. People email me and they say ‘I’d like to do a triathlon, but I’m really nervous, etc’ and I say, the atmosphere is incredible because all the ladies, even the ones that are really competitive, are all very friendly and helpful.

It is very warm. It is a lovely race to do. I know I would say that anyway, but it is.”

Deva Divas is a great triathlon for beginners. You also run a friendly beginner seminar and training sessions in the run up to the race?

“Yes. I do a beginner seminar – we have done it on Zoom the last couple of years. So, ladies can log in, and just talk triathlon, about Divas. I do cycle course surveys with them so they can look at the course with me. And we do some open water swims in the river with plenty of coaches and helpers. So all ladies feel safe and confident before the race.”

I always say to women, there is no daft questions because you can guarantee that whatever you think and whatever you want to ask, somebody else will want to ask exactly the same thing. So just put your hand up and ask because, guaranteed, someone else will want to know the answer as well.”

Being a race organiser is hard work. What keeps you coming back?

Sally-Deva-Divas“Yeah, it is hard work. Basically, I don’t think there’s anybody else that will be able to pick it up. It’s kind of become my baby. When I go up to Chester, into the town, people will say hello. I have not got a clue who they are, but they know me.

It’s such a lovely thing to do, just to see their faces when they finished, especially the ones that didn’t think they could do it.

It is such a joy to see people do something that maybe they didn’t think they could do. 

Yes. I’ve got one lady; I can’t remember if she’s in her late seventies or early eighties and she’s come along quite a few years now. She comes up from Oxford to do it – people do travel quite a way to participate. Each year she says, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I can do it this, I might have to drop to the aquabike’. And I say, well, if you must that’s fine.”

What else makes the Deva Divas women-only triathlon special other than being such a friendly and fun race?

“All the people involved on the day, the marshals, everybody who helps, we all do tri. We’ve all started at the beginning, so we know exactly what it feels like.

At some triathlons and the commercial ventures there’s no empathy, because people who are helping don’t necessarily know what it’s like to be a beginner.

At registration, I have ladies that take new participants, around the transition area. They show them where, what they do about racking the bike. They explain lots of things to them. For a beginner, it is definitely the race to do. I have never been to a race that’s so helpful.”


Women-Only-TriathlonThere you have it! Chester Tri encourages women of all fitness levels to train for and race this achievable (and fun!) event. Deva Divas has won British Triathlon “Event of the Year” twice, Triathlon England Club Event of the Year and also North West Regional Race of the Year!!

Here at Trigirl we especially love this race and recommend it, not only as a triathlon for beginners but also seasoned triathletes – so much that we are one of their sponsors!

Are you now thinking about racing Deva Divas? You better hurry! Spots go quickly, but you can grab one here.

You can watch the official YouTube 2022 film here.

And for more about the Quadrathlon race check out our blog post on the topic.

Happy training and racing… You go, Trigirl!