Fun and games to get family active - by the Brownlee brothers

Catherine Scott talks to the Brownlee brothers

Alaistair and Jonathan Brownlee

If the gruelling preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in a few weeks time wasn’t enough, the Brownlee brothers are on a mission to get us all fit.

As well as backing a fun-focused campaign to get the whole family active over half term, they urging us to ‘try a tri’ and have a go at a scaled down version of the triathlon in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

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“There is something for everyone,” says Jonny, 24, of the Warburtons Half & Half Term Games.

“You don’t have to be the world’s fittest person, it is about getting the whole family involved and getting kids away from their Xbox or PlayStation.”

Brother Alistair, 26, agrees: “We are very excited about the Commonwealth Games. It is fantastic time to get motivated and inspired by the Games. We want people to see that sport doesn’t have to expensive, or done at leisure centre or gym, it can be as simple as going out in your garden and having a go.”

The brothers from north Leeds have come up with ten examples of how the whole family can get active without spending a penny.

While getting people active is important to the brothers so is competition.

They are organising the charity Brownlee Tri, a scaled down version of the extreme endurance event; a 400m swim, a 16km bike ride and a 2.5km run.

The Brownlee Tri South will take place at Petworth House in West Sussex on June 15 and Tri North at Harewood House, near Leeds, on September 21.

“I remember watching The Olympic Games as a kid and was just itching to get out for a run or bike ride,” says Jonny.

“Our childhood was jam packed with fun family games and activities - especially the school holidays. We didn’t need any fancy equipment, just a healthy amount of competition and a bit of imagination, to turn sofa cushions into the high jump or a Frisbee into an Olympic discus event.”

The Brownlees did have the advantage of growing up in a health and sport aware family.

Their mum Cath is a GP and father Keith is a paediatrician caring for children with cystic fibrosis.

“We were always surrounded by competition,” says Alistair.

“I remember entering a cross country competition when I was six years old. Competition has always been part of our lives.”

The brothers love of cycling stemmed from long rides through the Yorkshire countryside with their parents and younger brother Edward.

“Our parents always encouraged us to get outside and we have been active since we were very young.”

The brothers are now at the very top of their profession, powering through at the London 2012 Olympics to claim gold and bronze medals.

“Coming home (to Yorkshire) after London was amazing,” says Alistair. “People were playing sport in the street and we need to keep on with that.”
“It’s so important that we capitalise on the current climate of excitement ahead of the Commonwealth Games, to inspire kids to be more active and we believe our Warburtons Half & Half Term Games will do just that,” adds Jonny,

The brother also believe the excitement of the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire next month will get more people on their bikes.

• The Half & Half-Term Games are part of a Brownlee brothers’ Half-Term takeover on the Warburtons Facebook page at – with daily activity ideas to encourage families to get active over Half-Term. For more on the Brownlee tri for Macmillan Cancer Support visit