Tri documentary wants universal appeal

An American documentary, The Triumph Project, is aiming to showcase the ups and downs triathletes face when training and competing in the sport.


Jeff Fairbanks, who’s producing the documentary, hopes that this will inspire people to take up triathlons, trying to reassure newcomers that the sport isn’t as daunting as it can look.

Before trying triathlon he believed that the sport was un-relatable, claiming that it seemed unrealistic for people with a job and family.

“For me I’d love the viewers to relate to the featured athletes. To see an average person complete a triathlon gives access to the thought of achievability. If I can do it, you can do it, and so on.”

What’s in store

The documentary follows Jeff and athletes Rachel McBride, Dave Mirra, and Jack Toland as they each prepare for different triathlon events.

He has taken inspiration from the athletes he is working with and wanted to showcase all the hard work and dedication triathletes go through in order to accomplish their goals. 

“You don’t have to come from the same, athletic backgrounds to do this. If you’re pro then great, relate to Rachael because of her absolute dedication in training. But relate to me if you’re a working guy with less time and look at my journey.

“Jack’s a good model for young people wanting to take up endurance sports. Dave went from the top of one sport (BMX) to being a complete newbie and he’s looking at doing the Kona.”

Jeff also wants the documentary to help humanise the triathlon community to newcomers, who might be nervous about fitting in.

“When I first entered I felt like the black sheep and thought I would be an outcast,” Jeff admitted. “Things though were completely different and what made me different (my tattoos and lack of experience) helped people remember me. They would come up to me and congratulate me all the time.”

The first hard steps

Jeff took up triathlon after a friend challenged him to a marathon. The father of two struggled to get to grips with endurance sport and struggled through the marathon, eventually finishing it but feeling defeated deep down. Not wanting this to be his lasting memory of endurance sports Jeff turned his attention to triathlon, but admits the individual disciplines didn’t appeal to him.

“I never really warmed to swimming, cycling or running individually to be honest with you. I actually got quite bored in the marathon. Completing all three disciplines together though leaves me feeling very much accomplished and feel that once you’ve finished one discipline you can take on the other.”

Jeff’s competed in his first triathlon two years ago – a sprint distance in Skagit County, Washington.

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His first triathlon saw him overtaken a fair bit but complete his goal and finish the triathlon. Rather than feeling defeated by endurance sports Jeff was now feeling excited about them.

“I finished that’s the main thing! There’s a lot of competition in your head when you get to the start about who you could beat but my goals would have differed massively from someone else, who might have wanted to win it.”

A trailer for The Triumph Project will be released in three weeks time and then Jeff embarks on the final cut. The documentary’s release date is expected to be December 31 2015.


For more information about The Triumph Project check out the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram page.

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