The Brighton and Hove Triathlon has announced what is being billed as the first ever UK Rainbow Triathlon – ‘to celebrate the diverse culture in Brighton and promote triathlon as a fully inclusive sport.’
With 1,500 entrants expected to race along Brighton’s iconic seafront on Sunday 11 September 2016, there will be several wave starts. The Brighton and Hove Triathlon has already provided the opportunity to race in a ‘WomenOnly wave’ for women who feel more comfortable racing alongside other likeminded women, and a ‘Mates Wave’ where friends can race together.
The Rainbow Wave is being positioned as the first ever race of its kind at an international triathlon. The wave will provide an opportunity for individuals to race, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, ‘in a city with an amazing diversity and LGBT heritage’.
The event organiser adds that the Rainbow Wave will not only celebrate the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity but also the diversity of human characteristics as a whole. The Rainbow Wave is open for anyone to compete in, should they choose.
The race ambassador for the Rainbow Wave, Sophie Cook, is the first transgender TV newscaster in Europe. She is Head of Diversity for Latest TV and the first transgender woman to work in the Premier football League. Since her transition, Sophie travels across the UK giving talks about diversity in sport to break down barriers and to provide support for people who are unsure of their identity.
She was the special guest speaker for The Football Association at Wembley Stadium and also at the Diverse Identities in Sport Conference in Glasgow.
Sophie Cook said “The race offers the opportunity for the whole community to support LGBT rights. This is not about segregation, or creating a separate part of the race. It is about showing support for the LGBT community. It would be my hope that the Rainbow Wave becomes the largest wave in the race with allies joining together to send a clear message that homophobia and transphobia have no place in sport.”
Another event ambassador, Former Ex-GB Triathlon Elite, and Gay Games Gold medallist, Mark Edmonds said “I think the Rainbow Wave at the Brighton and Hove Triathlon is a really positive move forwards and will hopefully attract some new people into this wonderful sport to make them feel welcome.”
Event Director John Lunt said: “The sport has always been about equality, diversity and inclusion, and I’m very proud that we have got the first ever LGBT event off the ground in a city which celebrates human diversity. It’s fantastic to be welcoming people from all over the world.”
Supported by Triathlon England and British Triathlon, the Brighton and Hove Triathlon will take place on Sunday 11 September. The event will also run in conjunction with the new Sport and Fitness Show on the Hove Lawns along the seafront.
In support of the sport’s first ever Rainbow wave, Jack Buckner, CEO at British Triathlon, added, “We are really excited about the introduction of the Rainbow Wave. Triathlon has grown significantly over the past decade and it is exciting to see our audience diversify also. This move exemplifies how open and accepting our sport is to anyone hoping to gain the physical and psychological benefits of taking part in triathlon. Good luck to everyone taking part.”