Alastair Brownlee, one of triathlon’s most famous names, launched the Stockton Triathlon in June although, by his own admission, he doesn’t expect to lift the £500 first prize.
That’s because it’s Alastair Brownlee the popular BBC Tees sports presenter who is donning his tri-suit for his first ever attempt at the event, rather than his near-namesake Alistair Brownlee, the current triathlon world champion.
Held this year as part of Stockton’s successful Take to the Tees watersports festival, there are events to challenge all fitness levels.
In addition to Sprint and Standard distance events, organisers have introduced an entry-level Mini Triathlon to encourage people new to the sport to have a go.
The Mini Triathlon opens with a 260 metre pool swim at the Splash leisure centre in Stockton, followed by a 13km cycle race and ending with a 3km run. The cycle and running sections of all the events take place on a traffic-free circuit around Stockton’s attractive riverside.
For those seeking something more demanding, the Sprint Triathlon takes in a 750m swim in the River Tees, a 24km cycle ride and 5km run.
The Standard Triathlon is a 1,500 metre river swim, 40km cycle ride and 10km run.
The Stockton Triathlon is the opening event of the Take To The Tees festival, a celebration of the River Tees and its leisure opportunities from August 22-30. It will include public taster sessions for a whole range of water-based activities from canoes to power boats.
Launching the event, Mayor of Stockton Councillor Colin Leckonby – a keen cyclist who took part in last year’s triathlon – said: “We want the triathlon to be an accessible challenge for anyone who wants to get involved.
“The Mini triathlon at Splash is a perfect introduction to the event’s unique challenge, while the main Standard distance event is a real test.”
Alistair Brownlee – the world champion – has sent a message of support to his Tees counterpart: “It’s fantastic news, Alastair, that you are taking part in the Stockton triathlon – it’s a great sport to be involved with.
“Make sure you enjoy the experience and, more importantly, keep up the family tradition of being competitive all the way through the race!”
Alastair Brownlee – the Teesside one – said: “I’ve started my training and am really looking forward to taking part in the Mini triathlon, my first attempt at the challenge.
“It’s shaping up to be a really great event for Stockton and the Tees Valley. It’s a great idea to start the Mini event in the pool and the riverside cycle and running routes look tremendous.
“I’d encourage anyone to give it a try and have some real fun while getting themselves fitter.”
Joining them at the launch was Cleveland Triathlon Club member Jen Milsom, who is also part of locally-based event promoters TriHard, who are staging the triathlon with Stockton Council.
Councillor Ken Lupton, Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “In just four years the Stockton event has quickly become established on the national triathlon calendar. I’m confident this will be biggest and best yet and I really hope local people will be inspired to give it a try.”
For information and entry rates, visit www.trihard.co.uk or call 0845 394 3915.