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Race Alongside the Brownlee Brothers at the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds

· Ali Turner · Culture

Why just watch it when you can do it? And the best thing is, anyone can have a go...

Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds

Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds will return to the city on 10th-11th June 2017 – and you can be part of it. Take on the same course as the Brownlee Brothers or try one of their shorter, easier Go Tri events.

Swim. Cycle. Run. Whether you do one or all three, the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds could be your next big challenge.

Last year’s Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds was hard to miss. It took over our streets and our TV screens as the Brownlee Brothers, alongside GB’s Vicky Holland, fought hard for their medals. The good news is, the event will return from 10th-11th June 2017 – and not only can you watch, you can have a go for yourself.

No seriously! You don’t have to be an elite athlete or a gym bunny, there’s something for everyone, with a chance to take on much of the same course as our local heroes, alongside relays, mini triathlons and open swims. So if you’ve been looking for your next challenge, whether it’s just for you or for all your mates too, this could be it.

There’s a challenge for everyone

Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds

Although the Elite Race makes the headlines, it’s not the only event that takes place at the World Triathlon Leeds. In fact, before they even set off, thousands of people have already completed the course, because the open race kicks off first thing. If you want the ultimate challenge (and all the bragging rights that come with it), you can do the full distance, which in case you’re wondering is a 1,500 metre swim, a 36.2 kilometre bike ride and a 10 kilometre run.

Not ready to go the whole hog yet? No problem. You could try the Sprint, a shorter version of the course, perfect for beginners. It’s still a challenge, and a huge accomplishment when you cross the finish line, but you’ll have it a little easier with a 750 metre swim, a 18.9 kilometre bike ride and a 7.5 kilometre run. Alternatively, why not team up with your friends to do the Relay? This one’s a little bit different because you only do one section of the race – you can swim, cycle or run, with your fellow team mates taking the baton for other parts of the race.

Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds

Credit: Ali Turner

Still thinking, ‘No way’? We’re not done yet. On the Saturday, they’re putting on a series of fun events that cater for just about everyone. Think of them as taster races – shorter and easier, but with all the atmosphere of the big race.

Go Tri is a mini version of the race, with two distances, so you’re sure to find one to suit. The first will see you doing a 200 metre swim, a 10 kilometre bike ride and a 2.5 kilometre run, while the second ups the swimming distance to 400 metres. These events cost just £25 to enter, so you can give it a go and see if you enjoy it, before you commit to a bigger race. Alternatively, you can sack off the cycling element by doing the Aquathlon, which combines a 750 metre swim with a two-lap 5 kilometre run.

You’re in the perfect position to prep

2016 ITU World Triathlon Leeds

Come June, people will be travelling from near and far to take part in the World Triathlon Leeds – but you’re in a unique position. It’s happening right here in Leeds, so not only is it easy for you to get there, but you can also train on the very routes you’ll be running and riding on the day.

It’s not just the location that makes Leeds the perfect place to try the triathlon though. In the months leading up to the World Triathlon Leeds, there will be a range of events across the city designed to introduce you to the sport and start your training.

Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds

Tri Something New will give you a taste of the three components of the race, and you can get involved at Fearnville Leisure Centre, John Charles Centre for Sport, Armley Leisure Centre and the Universities. There are loads of different events, ranging from swimming lessons to spin classes, group runs and open road bike rides – you can even do training sessions with British Triathlon coaches.

Many of the events are free, although some have a small fee – but we’re talking £2 a pop, or £5 if you’re having a go at one of their Go Tri races, so it certainly won’t break the bank but it’ll definitely help you get to the finish line.

So what’s stopping you?

Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds

This is a fantastic opportunity to do a triathlon alongside some of the world’s best athletes, so don’t let a few pesky myths put you off. It’s actually a lot easier (and cheaper) than people would have you believe.

Take the kit for example. A lot of people think it’ll cost the earth, but it won’t. You don’t need a lightweight road bike like the pros, you can use any mountain or hybrid bike, it just needs to be roadworthy. You’ll also need a helmet, you can’t race without one, and a wetsuit, which you can hire from event sponsors from Zone3 for £55. Goggles, running shoes, swimsuit, shorts and t-shirt – the rest of it is stuff you probably already have hiding in a closet.

Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds

Credit: Ali Turner

You obviously don’t have to be a super-star athlete, there are plenty of shorter, easier options to help you ease into it, and entry won’t cost the earth. It starts at just £25 for the Go Tri events, and if you can raise £500 for the Bone Cancer Research Trust or Bloodwise, you can do the main event for just £45. When you think about it, you’re getting three events for the price of one here, so that’s a veritable bargain.

That leaves you with just one excuse – the open water swim. Sure, the jump from swimming pool to lake can be a little unnerving, but you’ll have your wetsuit to keep you warm, and it’ll give you extra buoyancy too, so if you feel flustered, you can just roll onto your back and float until you’ve got composure back. You don’t have to put your head under the water either, breast stoke is a-okay, and the 200 metre Go Tri distance is just 8 lengths of your average pool – you can totally do that!

So what are you waiting for? Round up your mates and get ready to take on one of the best challenges of your life in 2017 – the World Triathlon Leeds.