IF A punishing swim, bike ride and run wasn’t sufficient, triathlon titans Alistair and Jonny Brownlee have just added a fourth discipline – the selfie.
As amateur competitors of all ages and shapes drew inspiration from the brilliant brothers and took part in the latest Brownlee Triathlon in the undulating grounds of Harewood House, these indomitable brothers were simply mobbed by wellwishers.
So much so that they looked like they were having their own selfie race at one point – Jonny taking a lead before pausing to talk about his heat exhaustion in Mexico last weekend while his elder brother, the two-time Olympic champion, gained bragging rights by posing with five female fans in one picture. Some things never change!
In many respects, the results of the various competitions were of secondary importance to the fact that the typically selfless Brownlees were able to give so much encouragement to all those who have taken up this endurance sport following their success.
“Not only are they fantastic ambassadors for triathlon, but they are fantastic ambassadors for sport,” said Richard Oliver after his grand-daughters Katie and Amy had taken part in one of the junior races.
His view was shared by the Earl of Harewood whose son Eddie, and three-year-old grandson Mateo, were amongst the competitors. “The Brownlees sum up everything that is great about Yorkshire,” said David Lascelles. “They take the triathlon, and their training, very seriously, but they don’t take themselves too seriously. I just love to see lots of people here doing things and having a good time.”
As one lycra-clad youngster asked Jonny Brownlee for a selfie, the Olympic silver medalist asked: “What time did you do?” When told the response, he added: “Brilliant. I wish I’d been that quick at your age.”
Talk about inspiring the next generation as Yorkshire prepares to welcome home its all-conquering team of Olympians and Paralympians on Wednesday when the heroes of Rio take part in an open top bus parade through Leeds.