YEP triathlon challenge: ‘Two weeks to go and I’m feeling sorry for myself’

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After reaching a few recent milestones, it’s got to be said that my training has gone a little off track.

Having really dived into triathlon head first I’ve tried to take myself to the limit in most of the disciplines, but it appears to have taken its toll slightly.

In the last two weeks I’ve conquered each of the Olympic triathlon distances – 1.5km for the swim, 41.5km on the bike and 10km on foot.

In fact, I’ve actually gone a few steps further in each to prove to myself that I’m capable.

Recently I cycled 60km during a bike ride from north Leeds to Ilkley and back, I somehow managed to run 14km – although I could barely stand by the time I’d got back to my front door – and this week I managed 78 lengths of the 25-metre pool at Fearnville Leisure Centre, that’s nearly 2km!

Amazingly, my progress has also encouraged a handful of friends, members of family and readers to put their hands in their pockets to help me raise £500 for the A Million for Maggie’s campaign. They’ve donated a combined £200 so far, so are obviously starting to think that I can do this. Hopefully I’ll prove them right.

But just a few days after seeing my distances encouragingly increase while the funds started to drip in, I’m feeling pretty sorry for myself.

I’ve got a croaky voice, an unsettled stomach and I’m fearing the dreaded onset of man flu.

Training has taken a bit of a backseat as I’ve worked from home curled up on my sofa for the most part.

Regardless, you could certainly argue that I’m in decent shape in terms of preparation to take on my first triathlon.

The rather large hurdles that still stand in my way, however, are swimming in freezing open water and putting those three disciplines back to back.

I’ll be honest, neither of those prospects fill me joy right now but that’s certainly the next step.

This is where Go Tri steps in. The programme of British Triathlon-run free taster events staged at Leeds City Council leisure centres are aimed at us newcomers, introducing us to the disciplines as well as the transitions between them and then piecing it all together.

Fortunately there are still a few free mini triathlon sessions to sign up to as well as all-important open water introduction sessions at Roundhay Park ahead of judgement day on June 12.

With a couple of weeks left to rid my system of any remaining man flu gremlins, I guess I’ve got to step up the training once again.

The challenge

Hot on the heels of this year’s Tour de Yorkshire, Leeds will take centre stage once more when the ITU World Triathlon Series makes its city debut.

And with the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds now just a few weeks away, a member of the YEP team has bravely volunteered to give it a go.

Hours before the pros take on the Olympic distance event, which includes a 1.5km swim in Roundhay Park, a 41.5km bike ride from Roundhay to the city centre and a 10km run around the streets of Leeds, around 5,000 brave amateurs will do the same course.

Our lead triathlon correspondent Jonny Brown has agreed to take up the challenge while raising funds for the A Million for Maggie’s campaign – a £1million fundraiser to help build a new Maggie’s cancer support centre at Leeds St James’s Hospital.

With the help of expert advice, online swimming tutorials, Go Tri sessions and months of training aided by a Bodyline Premier membership to Leeds City Council leisure centres, Jonny is hoping to show that anyone can take up triathlon.

We will be publishing regular updates on his progress up until race day on Sunday June 12. You can also track his progress on Twitter at @JonnyBrownYEP and by searching ‘triathlon’ at

To donate and to find out why he feels so strongly about raising funds for Maggie’s visit