Participants complete swim, bike, run in Roundhay Park

13 June, 2022

Over the AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds weekend, participants have taken to the course in and around Roundhay Park to complete their own swim, bike run challenge.

Every individual and relay team who took to the start line, each had their own reason for doing so. Whether that was to try and become British champion in their age group, raise money for charity or want to feel that sense of achievement of experiencing the same blue carpet finish as the world’s elite.

There were distances for all abilities from the Family and Kids Swim Run and GO TRI events to the sprint and standard distance, alongside relay events.

TV presenter Gethin Jones is no stranger to swim, bike, run having been a regular participant in triathlon events over recent years and this weekend completed the sprint distance in Leeds.

Speaking after finishing, Jones said: “The initial feeling when you cross the finish line is just pure joy. I had an injury four months ago, a bad ankle operation, so I was just keen to get it done and it always feels like a massive sense of achievement, I loved it.

“Me and my friend Shaun, who I do the triathlons with, created a charity for autism, so we try and do one of the World Triathlon courses every year. The last one we did was Hamburg three years ago. We love them, we love the preparation, we love the challenge, we love the disciplines, we love the atmosphere on and off the course people are so supportive.

“It’s a proper physical challenge and to do something in Leeds, which we’ve always wanted to do. We’re massive fans of the Brownlees and to think that the elites are going to be in the same water and crossing the same finish line as us so for a complete novice or an average athlete to experience what they do is really cool.”

Although the mass participation waves were set-off at different times, meaning they may not have had the fastest times overall by the time all the finishers had crossed the line, Paddy Jones and Becky Coleman did have the honour of being the first male and female athletes to cross the finish line.

Reflecting on the event after returning to Leeds for the second time, Coleman, from North Shields Polytechnic Club, commented: “It went much better than last year because last year I missed the finish and had to do another 2.5k because I got stuck in the loop, so I was just really pleased to have finished at the right time this year.

“The atmosphere definitely made me want to comeback this year, it was loads of fun and loads of kids from the club come down and do it, so it’s quite a big team event for North Sheilds Poly.”

Paddy Jones made the 600-mile round trip from Weymouth to participate in the Leeds event for the fourth time and after crossing the line said: “I couldn’t believe it when they said I was the first athlete coming over the finish line. There is only one year we’ve missed but otherwise we like to get up and take part.

“Originally one of the most unique things about the event was the fact you finished in the city centre and that was great, but actually I think there’s more of a family camaraderie know it is all in one place.”

Full results from all the weekend’s events can be found here.