Brownlee brothers take on YouTubers in Royal Docks triathlon

Jonny and Alistair Brownlee with their London 2012 Olympic medals. Picture: Ian West/PA Images

Jonny and Alistair Brownlee with their London 2012 Olympic medals. Picture: Ian West/PA Images - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

They’re two of the country’s most famous sporting siblings used to giving it their all to win in one of the most gruelling races around.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpMfGnF6NcU

But triathletes Jonny and Alistair Brownlee faced an entirely new challenge when they were recruited by creators of the Epic Challenges YouTube channel James Heptonstall and Noel Carroll for a unique race across London.

In a twist it was the YouTubers who donned wetsuits and dived into the icy cold Thames rather than the Olympic medal-winning brothers who remained firmly in their hoodies and jeans and took to London’s public transport network in a race from Royal Victoria Dock to the top of Greenwich park.

“We’d been thinking about ideas for a while and decided we wanted to do an urban triathlon,” explained James, 31.

“We said if we both did it, we’d want to race against the Brownlee brothers because of their Olympic success.”

Jonny and Alistair Brownlee with James Heptonstall and Noel Carroll at the start of the race

Jonny and Alistair Brownlee with James Heptonstall and Noel Carroll at the start of the race - Credit: James Heptonstall


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As it happened, Jonny and Alistair were happy to take part in the video, shot for the Epic Challenges YouTube channel.

While the Brownlees jumped on board the Emirates Air Line before taking a bus from the O2 Arena to Blackheath and finally a rickshaw for the last leg, James and Noel swam through the dock before cycling along the Thames and the Woolwich Tunnel before running to the top of the park.

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Alistair, who won triathlon gold in London 2012 said: “It was great to be involved in the race against James and Noel.

“It’s not the way we usually do a triathlon but it was a lot of fun and a good chance to see a bit of London on the way.”

James and Noel on their bikes in the Royal Docks

James and Noel on their bikes in the Royal Docks - Credit: James Heptonstall

Jonny, who won bronze in the same event, added: “We had the much more comfortable journey than the guys but that didn’t stop us trying to win it.

“Unfortunately I didn’t feel quite as quick on the rickshaw as I do on a bike.”

Though the Brownlee brothers lost the race, their challengers must have been grateful they didn’t have to face the pair’s blistering pace in a more traditional head-to-head.

So far the “Race the Brownlees” video has had more than 7,000 views on YouTube. James and Noel first made their name with the “Race the Tube” video that has received more than six million views.

The Brownlees had a more comfortable journey

The Brownlees had a more comfortable journey - Credit: James Heptonstall

“We do our filming at the weekend because we both have day jobs,” said James, who met Noel at Birmingham University. “This one saw us have Go Pros strapped to us for the day then it took about a week and a half to edit.”

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