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A Chat With The Brownlees’ Coach

Jack Maitland from the Triathloncoach.com is best known these days as the coach to Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee.

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Jack Maitland from the Triathloncoach.com is best known these days as the coach to Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee. He is one of the best triathlon coaches out there and has helped develop the two fastest triathletes on the planet who are hotly tipped to take gold and silver medals at this year’s Olympic Games. Maitland is no stranger to success in sport having raced at a top in level in orienteering and fell running before discovering triathlon. He raced as an elite representing Great Britain around the globe as well as earning himself British titles in both triathlon and duathlon. His skills as an athlete transferred well to coaching and he has worked with the Brownlee brothers from a young age. It has been a winning combination and one that the world will be watching on August 7. 

When did you first run into the Brownlee brothers?
It was through the program we were running. We had a policy that children needed to be at least 14 to participate and we knew about Alistair and Jonny because of their results in British Triathlon children’s events. As soon as they reached 14 they came along – Alistair two years before Jonny. The remit was small and we had only 18 contact days per year along with weekend camps, which they came to for a number of years.

Did you realize there was something unique or special about them?
We had a lot of good athletes at the time and I had very little experience about developing young athletes at the time. We saw certain things that were different about them, but it would be too large of a leap to say we saw future world champions there. Also at the time we had some very good older athletes in the group so they didn’t stand out massively.

How did your relationship develop?
It developed partly because we enhanced the program and established the Performance Centre at Leeds and Met University in 2004 with the patronage of Malcom Brown, who was the head of university sport at that time. This meant I was coaching sessions almost on a daily basis. As their timetables freed up Alistair and Jonny started to come to more sessions. Gradually they came in more often. In the end they came to university in Leeds and were at the Performance Centre full-time.

Read more: Triathlete-europe.competitor.com