Olympic medallists Alistair and Jonny Brownlee revealed they have chosen Fountains Abbey as the venue for their flagship triathlon event because of their “lasting childhood memories” of the heritage site.
Speaking to the Gazette at Ripon’s National Trust estate, on Friday, July 12, the Yorkshire-born brothers said they wanted to pick a “beautiful and inspiring environment” for the event.
“We wanted it to be a triathlon that anyone could do,” said Alistair, who is the current Olympic triathlon champion.
“A third of the people who have entered already have never done a triathlon before. That’s why we have chosen the super-sprint.”
Alistair, 25, will be competing against his younger brother Jonny among the abbey’s ruins on September 21 – the brothers last went head to head when Alistair famously won gold and Jonny won bronze at last year’s Olympic games.
And despite the competitive edge of the ‘Brownlee Challenge’, Alistair insisted it is an “event for all”.
“We really wanted it to be a triathlon for all,” he said.
“We’re inspired by countryside so the route had to be somewhere iconic, like Fountains Abbey.
“I remember coming here from being very young. One of my lasting memories from being here was when the river was frozen and I remember going for walks as kids – it’s a great place for kids to come and visit and learn about the history.
“The paths and trails of the abbey’s estate are a lovely setting for a run, with great views of Ripon Cathedral and the Yorkshire Dales.”
Jonny added: “As young children, our parents used to take us here for walks to try and wear us out so we have good memories of the place.
“We want this triathlon to be part of our legacy and to see as many people take part as possible.”
And despite Alistair’s Olympic victory, Jonny is hot favourite to win the super-sprint course, combining a 400m swim in Studley Royal lake, a 19km bike ride through the medieval deer park and a 2.5km run through Studley Royal water garden and the ruins of the abbey.
“I am better at shorter and sprinting stuff,” said 23-year-old Jonny, who, along with his brother, expects to complete the course in under 30-mins.
“We’ve been on all the roads around here before,” he said. “It’s a beautiful place.”
- Do you want to compete alongside the Brownlee brothers? Visit www.brownleetri.com. There are around 300 places left in the triathlon.