Olympians join Petworth Park’s sporting spectacular

Dame Kelly Holmes. Picture by Jo Lee SUS-140617-150539001
Dame Kelly Holmes. Picture by Jo Lee SUS-140617-150539001

On Sunday June 15, three famous Olympians visited Sussex to take part in a new race challenge that saw Petworth Park’s 700 acre parkland transformed into a vibrant sporting village.

The Brownlee Tri South welcomed Olympic medal winning brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, as well as Dame Kelly Holmes and over 700 amateur competitors, who ran and cycled around the historic National Trust landscape.

The brothers competed with members of the public in the team relay even, and mixed with spectators and competitors, sharing an enthusiasm for the sport and the outdoors in general.

Alistair Brownlee said: “It’s not all about the sport; it’s also about encouraging people to enjoy being outside and active in a nice environment. Petworth Park fits really nicely.”

Jonathan Brownlee added: “It is spectacular, the house is beautiful and it is just a nice place to be. ‘For the Brownlee Tri we wanted to take triathlon to places like this; on a summer’s day there is nowhere better.”

Competitors and their families were also treated to an opportunity to watch British sporting legend Dame Kelly Holmes take part in her sixth run and cycle event of 2014.

The two times Athens gold medallist said: “My goal this year is to do a duathlon every month. I only started in January, so I am still on target. I really enjoyed today’s event, though no one told me about the hills; I don’t do hills! Petworth Park is a really beautiful location, a really great venue and the organisation has been brilliant.”

The event was changed to a duathlon following the result of the final water test, which meant that it was no longer possible for the swim to take place.

The individual SuperSprint involved a 2km run, a 16km bike ride followed by a 2.5km run. The individual sprint and team relay consisted of a 2km run, a 29.5km and culminated in a 5km run.

Results summary

Dame Kelly Holmes got the fastest time in the individual SuperSprint with a time of 49 minutes and 39 seconds. Finn Barnes of Cambridge Triathlon Club was the fastest male in the SuperSprint event with a time of 40 minutes, 11 seconds.

Andrew Greenleaf of the Serpentine Running Club was first in the individual Sprint with 1:06:53. Sarah Allen of London Fields Triathlon Club was the fastest female with a time of 1:20:29.

In the team relay – the Physio Fitness and Wellbeing Race team were fastest with a time of 1:07:52. Dame Kelly Holmes’ team came 5th with a time of 1:22:50. Alistair Brownlee’s team came 11th at 1:31:59 and Jonny Brownlee’s came 17th with a time of 1:40:22.

For full results visit http://www.brownleetri.com/south/race-details-2/race-results

Ian Pearce, Event Manager for Petworth House and Park said: “The change is quite remarkable and had very little impact on the Grade I listed House or grounds. It’s great to open the park up to a whole new audience and a very exciting sporting event.”

The course took competitors up gruelling hills, round picturesque lakes and deep into the West Sussex countryside.

Despite no direct appearance from the sun, it was warm and pleasant enough for visitors to sit back and relax, drinking in the sporting atmosphere in front of the imposing 17th century Petworth House façade.

Those hungry from racing or cheering feasted on tasty offerings from various market stalls, or picnicked with great views on Lawn Hill, where specially tailored children’s events also took place.

Report and picture contributed by the f National Trust London and South East.