The pinnacle of triathlon competition in the UK returns to the city on Saturday 10 – Sunday 11 June as well as offering up to 5,000 recreational triathletes the unique opportunity to compete on much of the same course as the world’s best. Following in the footsteps of the unforgettable 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ in Leeds and Yorkshire, 2016's event saw in excess of 80,000 spectators line the streets as the world's best were roared home by a huge and passionate Leeds crowd.
Olympic gold-winning former Leeds Beckett student, Alistair Brownlee, who graduated in 2013 after studying MSc Finance, and brother Jonny, are among those taking part in the men’s elite race; whilst 2015 BSc (Hons) Sport and Exercise Science graduate Georgia Taylor Brown is set to compete in the women’s elite race. Leeds Triathlon Centre athletes Non Stanford, Jess Learmonth, Lucy Hall, Tom Bishop, Gordon Benson and Aaron Royle are also all set to take part.
As well as Leeds Beckett being one of the sponsors of the event, up to 100 students will be given volunteer roles including supporting the athletes on the course, working in registration, swim start, transition, wayfinding and the transport team.
Second year BSc (Hons) Sports and Exercise Therapy students will also be offering massage support to competing athletes, under the guidance of Dr Philomena Commons and Jason Hynd, Senior Lecturers in the School of Clinical & Applied Sciences.
Philomena explained: “Our Sports and Exercise students usually do a great job at events like these. It’s a great opportunity for them to work as a team and use the skills they have developed. Our aim is to provide an excellent post-race service for the athletes. The students are very excited to have an opportunity to take part in such a big international sporting event in their home city.”
Former Leeds Beckett Director of Sport and Honorary Doctor of Leeds Beckett, Malcolm Brown, currently coaches Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, alongside the University’s Head Triathlon Coach, Jack Maitland.
Alistair became the first British athlete ever to earn an Olympic medal in Triathlon. He moved away from Yorkshire aged 18 to study medicine at Cambridge University, but returned to Leeds after just a term, realising his calling as a professional athlete.
Back in Yorkshire, Alistair completed a degree in Sports Science and Physiology at the University of Leeds before joining our University for his master’s degree.
“Most of my stand out memories from Leeds Beckett are from some killer training sessions on the track and in the pool,” adds Alistair. “I was fortunate enough to be able to pursue an area of study that interested me in a flexible manner to accommodate my sport, which was perfect.
“I did have some really enjoyable time studying there as well – I was lucky to have some really understanding tutors which helped me through my course.”
Leeds Beckett will be hosting stands at both the City Centre and Roundhay Park Expo events, where visitors will be able to access more information about studying at Leeds Beckett.
Photos © ITU / Janos Schmidt