Athletes based at the ever growing Leeds Triathlon Centre dominated the World Triathlon Leeds weekend, claiming eight medals across five events, including a Brownlee 1-2 in the finale.
The University of Leeds is a key partner in the Leeds Triathlon Centre and many current students and notable Alumni train here, including Olympic heroes Alistair and Jonny Brownlee. The Brownlee brothers are two of the best triathletes in the world and proved why they have been a force to be reckoned with on the world stage of triathlon by winning the gold and silver medal in the elite men’s race in their hometown.
A mistake in transition one by Jonathan Brownlee could have ruined the fairy tale ending, but his brother Alistair slowed the leading bike pack of three to allow him to catch up and bridge the gap. As soon as the Brownlees were together on the bike with the Australian Royle and Frenchman Raphael, all four showed their true class in front of the streets of Leeds lined with thousands of fans. With all four of these incredible athletes sharing the workload, they managed to extend their lead out to over two minutes by the end of the bike leg.
On the run leg Alistair Brownlee, cheered on by tens of thousands of people around the city centre, looked comfortable and pushed out in front to take the gold medal with a time of 1:49:27. Younger brother Jonathan Brownlee tried to keep up but didn’t have the legs after the gruelling 41.5km cycle and had to settle for the silver medal.
In the women’s race it was Leeds based Jessica Learmonth and Lucy Hall that dominated the early stages of the race. After coming out of the water in first and second place, they joined up with Bermudan athlete Duffy to put on an absolute masterclass on the bike to give them a minute and a half cushion going into the run.
Despite the impressive first two legs of the race from Learmonth and Hall, it was Leeds teammate Vicky Holland that took a podium spot with an impressive run leg to seal her a bronze medal. The race was won by favourite Gwen Jorgensen (USA), with Duffy (BER) in second.
After a difficult swim leaving her over a minute behind, Non Stanford managed to make up the difference with a solid bike and run leg to finish ninth, with Learmonth finishing in 10th, her highest ever finish in a World Triathlon Series race, and Lucy Hall finished in 13th.
On the Saturday, University of Leeds students also had some impressive performances at the British Junior Super Series race. European junior silver medallist Sam Dickinson continued his incredible season with a fourth consecutive Super Series victory in the Junior Aquathlon, finishing ahead of teammate Jack Willis in second. In the junior women’s race Mary Hodgson ran well to take a bronze medal, her third straight Super Series podium.
Sam had a great swim to come out of the water third, however a quick transition let him go out into the run in the lead and he never looked back. Jack was eighth out of the water, however he also had a quick transition and started the run quickly to leap frog his competitors and sit in second place behind Sam. That order would remain unchanged throughout the rest of the race to cross the line. Six other Leeds Triathlon Centre or Yorkshire Academy athletes finished in the top 16; Ed Beecher (5th), Lewis Byram (8th), Jimmy Lund (12th), Jordan Hull (14th) & Tyler Hutchinson (16th).
Mary, who has had a couple of tough races recently, used her impressive run to overtake several athletes after coming out 10th in the swim. She had managed to get up to fifth position after transition and the first lap, then used an even quicker lap to get herself onto the podium. Four other Leeds Triathlon Centre or Yorkshire Academy athletes finished in the top 20; Lucy Byram (11th), Erica Byram (15th), Harmonie Waterman (19th) & Jemma Speers (20th)
In the British Triathlon Open Age Aquathlon, University of Leeds student Richard Allen broke the course record, thanks to an all-round performance, to secure the gold medal. Leeds Beckett University student Ben Rhodes finished the race in the bronze medal position.
Sprint and standard distance
In the Sprint Distance Open Race, Matthew Burt (University of Leeds) posted the fasted swim time overall to take a bronze medal in the 20-24 age group, with teammates James Scott Farrington (4th) and Ben Rhodes (5th) not far behind.
In the women’s standard distance event, University of Leeds student Chloe Scotchbrook took a silver in the 20-24 age group with a time of 02:21:05.
A huge congratulations to all those who took part in the event – we hope to see you doing just as well again next year!