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Sometimes the results don't matter...
Posted by: JohnLevison
Posted on: Saturday 1st October 2016


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The Brownlee Tri 2016 - A Great Day for Triathlon

Tri247 Editor, John Levison, looks back on the 2016 Brownlee Tri (www.brownleetri.com), a fantastic day in the stunning surrounds of Harewood House in Yorkshire. A brilliantly organised event that put the smiles (and many emotional tears), on the faces of thousands of people last weekend.

And the winner was... triathlon itself.


It's been a very busy time for the sport of late. The Olympic Games, the ITU World Championships (Short and Long Distance), and many other performance-focussed events have followed in quick succession. That continues over the next week as the entire swim-bike-run world will be mesmerised by the word 'Kona'. Many of us will be living out our multisport dreams vicariously through the very best long distance athletes, professional and amateur, in the world at an event that in many ways is the history of triathlon. Either that, or looking on jealously at stunning photographs and videos across all of our social media platforms thinking... one day, perhaps!

All of those events are, and will continue to be, something we take huge interest in here at Tri247. We know the sacrifices that are made, especially within the Age-Group community, just to make the start line at some of these races - and we make it a key part of our role to support and recognise those feats - consistently, accurately and swiftly - year after year. Truly, we care. We've spent far too many exhausted nights and early mornings still working away in the dark not to.

One of the great things about triathlon is its inclusiveness. With so many events, so many distances and formats, there really is something for everyone. At the top, that might be to win the Olympic Games or IRONMAN World Championships. For the hard core amateur, becoming an Age-Group World Champion might be a ten year journey. For others, simply completing the course is the end of an amazing (to borrow from many a TV talent show), 'journey'.

I think this is summed up very well by a quote I read from renowned coach, Brett Sutton: "Choose your own Everest". I think that really captures it well. Triathlon offers you that option.

Brownlee Tri 2016

So, what is the connection to the Brownlee Tri? Last Saturday (as I have for every Brownlee Tri event since they started in 2013), I worked at the event as one of the on-site commentators/announcers alongside regular Tri247 contributor and coach, Simon Ward. It was a great day and, for once, the results and winners really were secondary.

The Brownlee brothers of course really were hot property in the week leading up to their event, given the massive global media coverage from the last moments of their race at the World Triathlon Series Grand Final in Cozumel. Local heroes already (with a pub, the Brownlee Arms, named after them...), appearing back in Yorkshire just days later, certainly boosted the number of spectators - as well as creating an enormous demand for selfies and autographs. 

Brownlee Tri 2016

It would be easy perhaps, (from the outside), to be skeptical of an event like this. To assume that it is a 'stick a name on' and try and make some money. That the aims of "inspiring and encouraging people, of whatever age and ability to be active and enjoy a great day out" were just hollow words. But, this was without doubt one of the best event experiences I've been to. It was an incredibly positive day, featuring so many happy faces, so many inspiring stories, so many charity fundraisers and a true 'experience' for everyone present.

The Brownlee Foundation is "committed to giving children all over the UK a positive sporting experience...", and once again, they are not empty objectives. Delivered by the Triathlon Trust, the (free) kids duathlon had almost 500 children pass through during the day, the busiest event of its kind I think I've ever seen. No equipment required, just turn up and they provided a bike and helmet. Seeing the pride of kids from three years old with their medal and Brownlee certificate (many subsequently then signed...), was brilliant. Located right next to the main finish line and with the backdrop of Harewood House, what a great first-time multisport experience for many.

Brownlee Tri 2016

In the Adult events, interviewing people after the race and finding out they were all set to have a gastric band fitted, then decided 'no, I'm going to change my life myself', and losing 10 stone in weight and bursting into tears on completing a (typically Brownlee tough!) Super Sprint triathlon... they don't care what position they are in or how fast. And why should they?

The Brownlee Tri attracts a huge proportion of novice triathletes and provides a wonderfully organised event in an incredible setting. A "packed Entertainment Village" for once really did mean that; lots of non-triathlon activities to keep the family amused during the day, including the biggest inflatable assault course I've ever seen (imagine a cross between Total Wipeout and Ninja Warrior...), a wide choice of catering outlets and all co-located next to the swim start, transition and finish line. It really was a village experience.

Brownlee Tri 2016

The course isn't an easy one - but a multi-lap, traffic-free bike route is perfect for the target audience with small wave sizes reducing the chances of 'biff' in the swim. There was no sterile 'run up there and around a cone' course either, thanks to an off-road run in the fantastic Harewood House grounds. Great finish line, a stunning backdrop, quickly followed by a bespoke medal and t-shirt. Welcome to triathlon!

Appropriately perhaps, the podium for the Men's Sprint Distance event featured two brothers, Lewis and Rory Strachan. Congratulations to them, and everyone else who went away from the event with some nice prizes for their athletic endeavours.

Brownlee Tri 2016

I think they would also agree though, Saturday 24th September was a day when triathlon itself was the winner. All-in-all, a magnificent day - the best Brownlee Tri yet - and an event more than worthy of carrying the names of the Olympic Gold and Silver medallists.

For more on the Brownlee Tri, visit www.brownleetri.com.

Brownlee Tri 2016


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