The organisers of Newcastle’s first ever Quayside triathlon hope the groundbreaking summer event can bring the sport to the North East masses in the same way that the Great North Run has for jogging.
The inaugural Newcastle Triathlon will take place on July 19 and is set to be a major addition to the North East sporting calendar. Along with the potential for big crowds to cheer on the athletes, there is a course that will include a swim in the River Tyne, a bike ride will traverse the Swing Bridge and a run through the Quayside and Millennium Bridge.
It is open for entries and 1,000 places have already been snapped up for an event that has been years in the planning.
The event is being run by North East-based racing company VO2 Max Racing, with backing from Newcastle City Council and Triathlon England. As well as a standard distance there will be sprint and beginner events, which will give interested athletes the opportunity to try the mixed ability event.
Co-ordinator Gary Wright, who is a keen competitor and triathlon coach, says this summer’s event is being launched with the intention of introducing the sport to the North East public – as well as hopefully attracting some of the sport’s big names in future years.
“We are really passionate about this event and we’ve been planning it for a number of years,” he said.
“We’re dedicated to the triathlon and this is such a massive opportunity for us to try and bring the sport to a whole load of new people who want to be active and take on a challenge.
“We have seen the impact that the Great North Run has had and this is a chance for us to get people involved in triathlon on a brilliant course that can really inspire people.” The eventual intention is to try and make the Newcastle event part of the ITU World Triathlon series, which currently includes major cities like London, Auckland and Cape Town. That is some years down the line but after years in the planning stages, getting the green light to launch it this year gives the organisers a chance to make a splash.
“We have always wanted to do a Triathlon in Newcastle and we’d been talking about it for several years now. There’s a level of experience that you need to pull it off and we’ve been doing triathlons as a company for a number of years,” Mr Wright said.
“We’ve raced all over so we know what good looks like and we know what bad looks like. We can design our own course and we just thought it would be brilliant to have a really top event in our back yard that can go up against all the top events.
“The course and the lay-out is absolutely first class. When you start to put bits together to actually put the track together you realise how amazing the area is and how suited it is for events like this.”
For beginners there will be training days and a coaching plan to get them ready for the event. There has also been consideration about swimming in the Tyne, with organisers keen to point out that the tide will be with competitors on the day,
“We’ve got the tides all nailed down so we know it is going to be a good tide,” Mr Wright said.
“We’re timing it so upstream water will help you go against any downstream water. I’ve been in the water against the tide against Scotswood and it can be tough but we have timed it to make sure it is with the competitors.
“We hope the beginners event will introduce this event to the masses. It is a challenge that has to be respected but it is incredibly enjoyable.”
For more information and to enter the event, visit www.thenewcastletriathlon.co.uk .