Former RAF Officer, Kate Tripp, to Run in the OA Triathlon Team

Kate Tripp is running for the OA in the OA Inter-Services Triathlon at the end of July. We interviewed her to find out more.

This year the triathlon is organised by the RAF Triathlon Association and sponsored by the OA. The Army, Navy and RAF will compete at the annual event, in individual and team categories, including Male, Female and Veteran. In addition to the Armed Forces, the emergency services, the OA and guest teams will participate. The OA will have a relay team, with a different person completing each discipline.


Tell us a bit about yourself?
I spent 22 years in the RAF as an Education and Training Officer. I represented the RAF at tennis and badminton, and entered the Inter-Station Triathlon for fun. In 2003 the RAF ladies triathlon team were sufficiently desperate that they asked me to take part. I finished at the back of the field, but I did finish. Three months later I was diagnosed with cancer, which had been undetected for eight years, so I feel a little better about my triathlon performance. I left the RAF as a Regular in 2012 but immediately joined the RAF Reserves. I now serve with 600 City of London Squadron at RAF Northolt.

How many triathlons have you competed in?
Three: one for fun, the Inter-Station and the Inter-Services. Since my cancer diagnosis I have ran four marathons and worked with Macmillan Cancer Support, introducing them to Marks and Spencer to raise more than £3 million. This year I was part of a team from 600 Sqn RAFR and ran the London marathon for SSAFA.

What makes a triathlon tough?
Triathlons are a test of complete fitness, not just an ability to do one discipline. This year I get away lightly as I am only running – phew!

What is your training programme?
As a result of chemotherapy I have brittle bones, so my programme is varied. On Sunday I go for a long run. Monday is either a rest day or Pilates. Tuesday is spinning. Wednesday is a double session with high intensity interval training and yoga. Thursday is either Pilates or circuits. Friday is usually a short run and Saturday is either a rest day or spinning.

What advice would you give to someone competing in a triathlon?
If you want to do well have one discipline you are really comfortable with, and train hard at the other two. I am pretty rubbish at all three but it is still fun.

What makes the OA Inter-Services Triathlon challenging?
The quality of the competitors. I remember getting out of the water in the last group, but soon overtook people who were unable to cycle due to mechanical failures and cramp. I will always keep going, and guarantee to finish, but you may need a calendar rather than a stopwatch.

What does it mean to be part of the OA triathlon team?
This is very special. It marks a 14 year cancer journey, coming full circle and coming home. I believe that I am fitter and stronger than I was in 2003. I’ve moved from the RAF Regulars to ‘civvy street’ and the Reserves. I now have the opportunity to represent a wonderful organisation that helped me immeasurably in my move from the Regulars. Thank you for the opportunity.


The OA sponsors the OA Inter-Services Triathlon to celebrate the high levels of physical fitness, mental determination and self-discipline that competing requires. These are qualities that will support Service leavers when they make a successful transition into civilian life. The OA offers all transitioning officers free one-to-one career consultations. To book an appointment register with the OA, or call 0117 906 3580.