Leeds and Brownlees set for inaugural ITU World Triathlon
Olympic gold-winning former Leeds Beckett University 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 on Sunday – their last event on home soil before the Rio Olympics in August.
In the women’s elite race, also on Sunday, Leeds-based Vicky Holland and Non Stanford will compete.
All four train at our Headingley campus, while former Director of Sport and Honorary Doctor of our University, Malcolm Brown, coaches Alistair and Jonny, alongside Leeds Beckett’s Head Triathlon Coach, Jack Maitland.
The brothers hope the event will provide the perfect preparations for the Olympics where they are confident of repeating their London 2012 success.
Then, Alistair won gold and Jonny bronze – a moment of history that saw British brothers on an Olympic podium together for the first time in more than a century.
“It was incredible,” said Alistair. “Winning gold, having Jonny on the podium, and the support we received from the crowds, were all amazing moments.
“Whilst Rio is definitely the focus of our season, there are other races and targets we’re also training for along the way. We are both happy with where our fitness is right now and are very much looking forward to the Leeds World Triathlon Series event on 12 June.
“It will be great to have a proper home race and we know the city will come out and line the streets to cheer us on.”
Elite triathletes will start with a 1,500-metre swim in Roundhay Park’s Waterloo Lake, switch to bikes and follow a 41.5-kilometre ride through Roundhay, Moortown, Meanwood, Weetwood, Headingley and Woodhouse before completing six circuits of a city centre loop.
They will then transition on Millennium Square from bikes to running before covering 10 kilometres in four shorter laps of the city centre loop culminating in a thrilling finale on the finish line in Millennium Square.
There are 100,000 spectators across the city expected and a television audience of 10 million.
You can watch the action on the Leeds Big Screen in Millennium Square where we will be showing live footage for the duration of the Triathlon weekend. Also look out for our stand at The Victoria Gardens Expo and our Go Brownlee Brothers flags which will be distributed to spectators.
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 my through my course.”
Alistair and Jonny, who train up to 35 hours a week together, have a camaraderie which has captivated their fans throughout their professional careers.
“I’ve been very lucky having Jonny push me, and me push him,” says Alistair. “The best thing about competing against my brother is being able to stand together on the start line and share a little joke with him to calm the nerves. It also helps knowing that we’re there for each other throughout.”
“The worst thing though is that my older brother keeps beating me,” adds Jonny. “At the moment…”