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15 January 2021   |   Sports Travel International   |   

Inside Sports Travel International – An Afternoon with Fids

We wanted to introduce you to the faces behind your Sports Travel International team.  

This time, we are speaking to our Territory Manager for Ireland – Fidelma Alford. We get to learn a little about Fidelma, what she does at Sports Travel, her background, and her love of sport and how it stems from an early age.  

Q: Tell us about yourself?  

A: Well, I’m a Dubliner born and bred and live in the North County, but originally from the Southside, so I’m still considered a ‘blow-in’! I have always been sporty. When I was young, you would most likely find me on a hockey pitch or tennis court.  

 My love of sport continued when I finished school. I went on to complete a degree in Sports and Leisure Management in the UK. Since then, I have spent more than 20 years working in a wide variety of tourism and marketing organisations including VisitBritain, Tourism Northern Ireland, USIT and Destination Think! across the European and North American markets.  

Q: When did you join Sports Travel International and what do you do there?  

A: I joined Sports Travel International in February 2020, right before COVID-19 really took hold in Ireland. To say it’s been a baptism of fire is a real understatement! I’m really fortunate here in Sports Travel that we have such a great team, who have been an incredible network of support since I started.  

The main part of my role here is to manage the day-to-day running of the Ireland office. I ensure clear communication with our clients and partners. I provide them with great customer service along with access to the best running, cycling, and triathlon products on offer! We have a very special relationship with our clients and partners. Throughout all the challenges of the past 12 months, we’ve made sure to keep communicating with them as much as possible. We appreciate their huge understanding; it’s been a real source of motivation.  

Q: How has your business changed during the pandemic and lock-down? What have you done during lock-down to ‘get away from it all’? 

A: We have been able to continue working during both, albeit from home. Like many people around the country, staying home and keeping local has been a big feature of the last 12 months. Almost every marathon or event we offer has been cancelled or postponed, but we’re very lucky. The majority of our clients have rolled over their bookings with us to future years.  

As a team, we check in with each other several times a day. Platforms such as Zoom and Teams are great for keeping connected or even if you want to see a friendly face!  

Fids (top left) joining in with our team’s virtual 2.6 challenge, in April 2020

 I have spent a good chunk of time cycling (within the 5km radius of home obviously). I’m a Brompton bike fan (the cult folding bike) and, as my daughter recently learnt to cycle, we’ve been out and about a lot! Other than that, I developed a renewed love of Lego. Yes, it’s perhaps a little unusual, but it does take me back to my childhood. It’s been good fun, especially when the weather isn’t ideal for cycling! 

Q: What is your favourite destination and why?  

A: This is a really tough question for me. I’ve been able to travel quite a bit during my career but one of my favourite destinations has to be Paris. For me, it’s the sort of place that you can really immerse yourself in the culture quite quickly and get around the city with ease. You’re most likely to find me in a museum or enjoying the gorgeous cuisine across the city.  

I also love spending time in Lanzarote. It’s a great destination all year around, as the weather is really reliable,  but also, it’s a destination with incredible facilities, spectacular geography, and a fascinating history too. Obviously, we can’t wait to get back to Club La Santa too. You will be able to spot me easily, I’ll be the overly competitive one on the padel court! 

Club La Santa Lanzarote
Spain:Lanzarote:La Santa:Club La Santa

Q: What have you got planned for 2021?  

A: Like the rest of the world, I’m hoping we’ll get a little bit of normality back. As a team in Sports Travel, we are set to have a very busy end of 2021. Many of the marathons and events we work on are happening in a short space of time from September to November.  

The iconic Rome Marathon has been moved to September 2021

It will be great to get out there and support our clients. We can’t wait to see them achieve their goals. It feels like we’ve all been on a long journey with them over the last 12 months, so it will make it all the sweeter to see them in New York, Boston, London and beyond. This year, we will have quite a few of our clients running their 6th major, which will be an awesome achievement to be celebrated.  

Q: Any final words of wisdom?  

A: Gosh, I don’t know! If the last 12 months has taught me anything, it’s to expect the unexpected but to just keep going. Brighter days are most definitely ahead.  

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