The Brownlee brothers visit Cockburn School

Alistair Brownlee revealed that he was still making up his mind about defending his Olympic Triathlon title when he met students at Cockburn School on Friday (10 November 2017).

Alistair and his brother Jonny were there to answer questions put by a hall full of students from Cockburn and Cockburn John Charles who have excelled at sports. Double gold medal winning Alistair said he was considering moving fully to Iron Man Triathlons – a two mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike ride and 26 mile run.

Asked if they would compete in the 2020 Olympics, Jonny immediately said “yes, hopefully” explaining that qualification would be in 2019. He also pointed out that his next goal was the Commonwealth Games next year in Gold Coast and the World Championships the year after.

The double Olympic medal winning brothers were in South Leeds to repay Cockburn’s Assistant Subject Leader of PE James Boxell, who supported the Brownlees’ Olympic training camps in 2012 and 2016 as their running pacer.

Amongst an impressive range of questions from students we learned that the Brownlee brothers:

  • Eat a simple healthy diet
  • Were very competitive as children, but rarely raced against each other until they were adults
  • Would prefer to train every day – their “passion”, but “work” 30 days per year for sponsors (for which they are very grateful)
  • Recommend consistency in training – same effort every week – and working in a group to support each other
  • There is prize money in Triathlon, but they are not in the same league as footballers

We also learned that Jonny enjoys playing football, but daren’t risk any injuries and that his dream when he was young was to play for Leeds United. Alistair on the other hand when asked by a teacher said he wanted to be a professional triathlete (if that was possible).

Asked about having doubts before a race, Jonny said everyone has doubts before a race. He said he goes through each doubt and counters it with his preparations. For example a doubt that he might get a puncture, but that he has the best tyres on his bike.

“I think through and counter each doubt, it’s about attacking those doubts” he said.

After the question session, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee added to the school’s poppy commemoration adding their own personal messages:

“We will never forget” (Jonny) and “We all owe an endless sea of gratitude” (Alistair)

Youngsters thinking of taking up Triathlon can join a weekly Triathlon training session which will be restating in December. The sessions run every Monday from 4 December 4:15-5:45pm at the new Middleton Bike Hub and are open to boys and girls of any ability. Bikes are provided.