Peter Mackreth, Dean of the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett, said: “Alistair and Jonny are world class athletes who have taken the triathlon to new levels.

“They have a long-established relationship with Leeds Beckett University, working with our coaches and researchers, who themselves are leaders in their fields on an international stage.

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“We are delighted they have been able to join us today to receive their Sport Science Honorary Doctorates and for us to recognise their incredible achievements.”

Alistair said: “It’s very special to be here, and we both feel very lucky to have had a long relationship with the university and staff.

“I actually first ran here on a primary school sports day. When I was 14, I was told by a friend to turn up to the track to meet a coach to help me run faster.

“On that night I met Malcolm Brown MBE (former Director of Sport at Leeds Beckett) and that was the start of a 15-year coaching relationship and that has had a massive impact on my career.

“There were four of us training at the time – now there are hundreds of students training. It’s been amazing for me and amazing to watch the progression of triathlon in the city.”

Since their first Olympic success, the pair have remained based in Leeds, where they are now coached by Ian Mitchell, who also works in Leeds Beckett’s Sport & Active Lifestyles. They train regularly at the Leeds Triathlon Centre, whose main partners include Leeds Beckett.

Jonny said: “The Leeds Triathlon Centre is very important to the future development of the triathletes across Leeds. It’s a great place to train with some great coaches there. There are lots of up-and-coming triathletes at the centre. The talent in the British programme and in Leeds is actually incredible.”

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Honorary Doctorates at Leeds Beckett are conferred on individuals whose achievements reflect the values of the university or on individuals who have made a positive impact on Leeds or on the region.

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