The personal challenge at AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds

24 May, 2022

The personal challenge at AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds

George Cull is relishing the personal challenge at AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds as he aims to repeat his target from last year and set a new PB over the Roundhay Park course.

Cull took part in his first standard distance triathlon at Leeds in 2018 and returned again in 2021 as he worked towards fulfilling his goal of completing an IRONMAN event.

“Coming back to do it last year was part of a longer story,” Cull commented. “I was getting to the point playing football where I felt as though I was getting too old for that and then something popped into my head and I decided I wanted to do an IRONMAN, but that thought came about having never done a triathlon before.”

“That’s what prompted me to enter four to five years ago on a whim, not being able to swim or anything like that, and then that as an experience was both fun but horrendous at the same time and it was a wake-up call that I needed to sort myself out and actually learn to swim properly and all of that.

“At that point I had in my head I wanted to do an IRONMAN and then lockdown hit so I didn’t get to do an IRONMAN in 2020 but in 2021 I got to enter an IRONMAN in the July, so Leeds was perfect for me being six weeks before IRONMAN as an event in its own right, but also as a practice event.”

On his return to Roundhay Park last year, Cull completed the target he had set himself – to beat his time from 2018 – and it’s this challenge which will drive the Tri Bramley Baths member back to the start line next month, along with the festival atmosphere during the event weekend.

“It’s built in for most people who take part in sport that it’s all relative to yourself,” Cull said. “So, my time is a time that I can do and if I can beat that by a minute then I’m going to be as happy as someone who beats the world record by a minute. It’s all kind of personal and relative, so there’s always that feeling of wanting to go one better and beat your time from the previous time you’ve done it.

“There was a really nice kind of vibe about it, and everyone was pleased to just be out and doing something a bit normal. Most of my training had been through Tri Bramley Baths and having so many club members there cheering me on throughout the route and knowing the roads and having run around Roundhay Park, so all that familiarity and the atmosphere just made it such a great experience.

“It’s always nice to think that they [elite athletes] encountering some of the same aspects of the course that you are. I think I would have done all this triathlon stuff anyway but the fact that the triathlon is in Leeds has been such a massive boost and has been perfectly timed to help me with that. It’s always nice seeing the elite athletes in your home city.”

Alongside the elite races, which will include the mixed relay for the first time in Leeds this year, thousands of participants will also take on varying distances across the event weekend.

Ahead of his third time competing over the standard distance in Leeds, Cull says the inclusive nature of swim, bike, run shines through.

“You think of triathlon as being something you do as an individual but actually that’s where you see the real benefit of being part of a club is seeing people scattered all around the course cheering you on but also people not associated with the club are there cheering you on,” Cull said.

“There was a bit of trepidation getting involved in triathlon a few years back with the perception of it being a bit elitist, but being at an event you don’t feel that at all. You look around and see people look a bit similar to you and see that’s it’s not about £10,000 bikes and the fanciest wet suits, we’re all just normal people muddling our way through it together a little bit.”

Come and watch the world’s best in action live from the park at AJ Bell 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds and cheer the participants over the different distances to help them achieve their goals.

There will be free general admission areas around Roundhay Park, but if you want to experience the best seats in the house grandstands tickets are on sale for the elite racing on each day.

The grandstand will provide a great location from which to view the transition area and finish line for the elite action. Find out more and secure your seats here.