Hundreds of beginners take to triathlon as Leeds becomes the blueprint for sport’s governing body

An open water swimming session at Roundhay Park's Waterloo Lake. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
An open water swimming session at Roundhay Park's Waterloo Lake. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Leeds will provide the blueprint for expanding triathlon across Britain after race organisers were “overwhelmed” by the reaction to their early work.

More than 200 people have taken part in free sessions linked to British Triathlon’s Tri Something New programme in the run up to Leeds’ first Go Tri beginners’ race, where 220 people will do a 200 metre swim, 10km bike ride and 2.5km run during the Roundhay Park sports festival tomorrow.

The festival will tee up Sunday’s main event, the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds, which will see amateurs and the world’s top triathletes take on a 1.5km Waterloo Lake swim, 41.5km bike ride to Leeds and 10km city centre run.

Jenny Vincent, engagement project manager at British Triathlon, aims to engage 1,600 people in triathlon through amateur races, free taster swimming, cycling and running sessions and tutorials this year.

“We are just overwhelmed with how well it’s going,” Jenny said. “We want to make it the triathlon city and that’s all looking at how we can make Go Tri sustainable in future. Leeds is a really good example nationally for us of what we can do.”

British Triathlon has been working with Leeds City Council and local triathlon clubs to expand the sport alongside the ITU World Triathlon Series stage, which is hoped to become an annual event in Leeds.

Great Britain's Jonathan Brownlee cycles during the Vitality World Triathlon in London. Picture by Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

Great Britain's Jonathan Brownlee cycles during the Vitality World Triathlon in London. Picture by Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

The race weekend itself is to be managed with help from an army of around 600 volunteers acting as marshalls, guides and race officials.

Jack Buckner, chief executive of British Triathlon, said: “We wouldn’t be able to put on this wonderful event without them.”

After Sunday’s event several more free triathlon taster sessions will be staged in the region as volunteers are trained to spread the sport’s message further. Visit leeds.triathlon.org.

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