He is the only triathlon organiser who has worked on the triathlon events at both the Commonwealth and the Olympic Games.
John, from Kingston in Surrey, UK, was the founder of Human Race in 1990. The company set up and organised over 43 triathlon and running races every year. He counts the Ballbuster Duathlon, the Windsor Triathlon and the Kingston Breakfast Run as some of his most iconic races.
John’s first foray into triathlon was in 1984. He said, “When a friend I played rugby with did the original Reading Triathlon in 1983, he said he would train me up to do this daft triathlon event in September 1984, in Dorking, Surrey. So, he took me for a run and it nearly killed me! And swimming was my weakness. So, breast stroke it was and we just kept on going with the training.
“The event itself was a strange one. It was the Tanners Triathlon – an 800m swim (pool), a 35 mile bike and a 16 mile run. Not quite a Sprint! But I survived, knew I could improve and so became hooked on triathlon. The following year I did five triathlons and I raced in the original London Triathlon in 1986, 87 and 88, with eight laps of the Old Docklands. I enjoyed the racing. I enjoyed the buzz and the challenge. I went on to race at Kona in 1994.”
In 1989 after a stint travelling in South America, John returned to the UK and decided to try his hand at organising triathlons professionally; and in 1990 Human Race was born.
John initiated and developed many multisport events that have contributed to the growth of triathlon in the UK. He set up the Kingfisher Triathlon Club, was a board member at British Triathlon and is still President of Triathlon England’s London Regional Committee. He was retained to deliver the first appearance of triathlon as a medal sport in the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002, which led onto five ITU World Cup events in Salford.
“He is, without doubt the most skilled race organiser in the UK,” said GB Age Group World Champion (IRONMAN athlete and ITU World Champion Daphne Belt, 80).
“John put on one of the most stunning and successful events of the London 2012 Games,” said BBC TV Sports Presenter and former elite triathlete Annie Emmerson.
“His race organisation was always to perfection and stood out from the rest,” said Stuart Hayes, Commonwealth and Olympic Triathlete.
GB Age Group World Champion Daphne Belt said, “If you were looking for the cornerstone on race organisation in British Triathlon, look no further than John Lunt, who in recent years has been the brains behind the 2012 Olympic Games triathlon. For myself, 30 years year ago, he was unquestionably the rock on which my own triathlon career began, when he made a phone call to a brand new older lady beginner, talking me into taking on my very first multi-sport event; the Damp Dash swim-run in Kingston-upon-Thames which took me all the way to Kona.”
She continued, “In my 30 years in the sport I have taken part in all his events and indeed I am looking forward to competing in his newest big race the Brighton and Hove Triathlon again. John has always been a mainstay in my much loved sport and he has to be partly responsible for my ten age group world championship titles. He cannot help his motivational nature. He is, without doubt the most skilled race organiser in the UK.”
Annie Emmerson, former elite triathlete/duathlete and BBC TV sport presenter said, “John has a great relationships with many of Great Britain’s finest triathletes who loved to race; whatever the format you always knew that Lunty would deliver a fantastic event!
“At London 2012, John earned himself the demanding, highly privileged, but very much merited role as Race Director of the Olympic Triathlon, staged in Hyde Park. For me this is where years of gathering experience as race director would be brilliantly demonstrated as John put on one of the most stunning and successful events of the London 2012 Games.”
In 2013, John was presented with the British Triathlon Gold Pin which is awarded to the sport’s leading figures to highlight their significant and long standing contribution to triathlon.
With so many events under his belt, John counts the London Olympic Games as the pinnacle of his career. He said, “I was proud and honoured to show off my city of London with such a fabulous event and occasion. The whole of London 2012 was an amazing and an incredible experience. For me, it was 4.5 years’ work compressed into 4.5 hrs of sport! It’s an event I shall never forget.”
John’s goal has always been to make triathlon as accessible as possible, to respect competitor’s culture and religions and to be inclusive. He also aims to introduce children to multi-sport, “encouraging them to get off their technology, get fit and put their enthusiasm and energy into something productive whilst having fun.”
Stuart Hayes, Commonwealth triathlete and Olympian said, “I’ve known John for many years and been part of all his races including the Olympic Games. His race organisation was always to perfection and stood out from the rest, I have some great memories and he definitely set a high standard for other organisers to aspire to.”
John added, “There was, and still is, a great camaraderie within the sport. I feel very proud to have played a small part in helping an exciting & challenging sport. I could not have done it without great friends, family and some very passionate business colleagues and event crew. Thanks to you all out there for an amazing 30 years, I could not have done it without you.”
John left Human Race in 2012 and set up his own multisport consultancy which now counts the Brighton and Hove Triathlon and Brighton’s Run2Music as its flagship events. John is also the event director for the Dubrovnik Triathlon in Croatia.
The Brighton and Hove Triathlon 2020 takes place on the weekend of the 12-13 September on Hove Lawns. Next year’s event is expecting over 2,000 entries.