The elite and amateur race routes for the fourth edition of the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds have been revealed with the help of some of the individuals at the heart of the event.
The event, now in its fourth year, is expected to attract up to 5000 competitors across the two-day triathlon showcase on 8-9 June; with nearly half of entries having already been snapped up.
The four-month countdown to the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds has begun, with details of this year’s routes for the elite and amateur events being released today in a video featuring some of the key faces behind the event, including UK Sport Chair, Dame Katherine Grainger.
Aiming to be Britain’s biggest ever GO TRI event, the new starter event will headline Saturday’s triathlon festival enclosed within Roundhay Park. This allows beginners to dip a toe into the world of swim, bike and run. The day will also feature the nation’s next generation talent as they go head-to-head across a number of distances.
On Sunday, the event will take over the City of Leeds. From 07:00 BST, thousands of amateur triathletes will embark on their respective sprint and standard distance races from Roundhay Park’s Waterloo lake, swimming either 750m or 1500m before running up to transition (T1) within the park.
Having located their bikes, participants will pedal out towards Headingley; past Mansion House and through Meanwood, before turning back and returning to the transition hub to cover an 18.9km distance. Those opting for the longer distance will complete a second lap before racking their bikes.
The final leg of the three-stage challenge sees participants head towards the city-centre. With crowd-lined streets cheering friends and family on for their final strides, both sprint and standard distance triathletes will travel the same route until they reach the Headrow. Those running 7.5km (sprint distance) will turn right into Millennium Square and power along the blue carpet to cross the finish line and collect their medal. Standard distance athletes will make up the additional 2.5km by continuing past Civic Hall and turning back to complete a short, city-centre lap before sprinting to the finish.
With less than 18 months until the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the Leeds event will fall well into the Games qualification window, with the best elite athletes from across the globe likely to be lining up in an attempt to boost their points tally.
The elite race will also start with a 1500m swim in Roundhay Park’s Waterloo Lake, with athletes then making the transition to a 40km bike through Roundhay and towards the city-centre via Moortown, Meanwood, Headingley and Burley. Following seven loops, passing a packed Millennium Square grandstand and an estimated 60,000 fans in the city-centre on each occasion, it’s then out onto the run. This involves 10km in 4 shorter laps of the city-centre loop, culminating in the finale of the event to be played out on the blue carpet finish in the square.
Vicky Holland, Olympic bronze medallist and 2018 AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds Champion, said “Leeds is a special course for me, made even more so after getting on top of the podium in 2018. We get to race in some incredible locations across the globe, but I can honestly say there’s nothing like racing on my own turf. The route is challenging and interesting, something that athletes thrive off and keeping spectators on the edge of their seats!”
British Triathlon CEO, Andy Salmon said “In four months’ time the City of Leeds will become a hub of triathlon activity and we can’t wait to see the much-loved route lined by thousands of spectators who will be treated to a weekend of non-stop sporting action. Having a route that spans both park greenery and a bustling city centre is hugely exciting and something that creates a particularly unique triathlon experience.”
Event Director of the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds, Wayne Coyle said “Participants have embraced the course on offer at the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds over the past two years, with a 75,000-strong crowd out in force cheering on friends, family and their Olympic heroes. Routes will remain untouched for 2019 to allow for another round of fantastic sporting displays, whether participants are going for gold, or making their multisport debut.”
Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, said “As we look forward to what promises to be a sensational year of sport in our city, it is very exciting that the race route has now been revealed for the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds.
“We are extremely proud to be hosting AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds for a fourth year and are looking forward to once again creating an unforgettable and magical atmosphere for both spectators and athletes.”
Esther Britten, Head of Major Events at UK Sport added, “We are proud to use National Lottery funding to bring world class events, such as the World Triathlon Series, to the UK. Hosting the event gives recreational athletes the opportunity to challenge themselves as they race around the city, as well as allow us to cheer on British triathletes who will be racing to qualify for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”
The 2019 AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds is supported by National Lottery funding and is organised by British Triathlon, in partnership with AJ Bell, Leeds City Council, UK Sport, Triathlon England and the ITU.
Kris Gemmell, General Manager World Triathlon Series & Head of Commercial ITU, said “Every athlete racing recognises the AJ Bell World Triathlon Leeds route is one of the most demanding and challenging courses in the series. Starting in the natural waters of Roundhay Park the, the course combines steep hills, false flats and fast sections. Over the years, the elite race has seen many a breakaway be made in this section even before arriving in front of the roaring crowd at Millennium square for the first of seven technical city laps.”