Hyde Park welcomed over 5,000 participants of all abilities to compete in the sixth stage of the World Triathlon Series on the last weekend of May. The world watched on as Alistair Brownlee captured a breakaway win and triumphed on home soil.
We were lucky enough to be given a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hyde Park site, which has hosted the event since 2009. The Royal Park acts as a blank canvas allowing the team to construct the temporary race village infrastructure. The entire site is built within six days leading up to the race, and involves a huge amount of planning, coordination and man-power.
The venue consists of an athlete’s lounge, exhibition and retail areas, media centre, medical facilities and transition areas for both elite and age-group competitors.
The course is designed with optimal spectator viewing areas- most impressive is the viewing grandstand which accommodates 3,000 spectators. The grandstand offers a perfect view of the finishing chute and elites transition area. Alongside are several large marquees with integrated viewing platforms, to host guests, event partners and sponsors. Sponsorship is incredibly important for an event of this scale and branding is optimised on the course for television coverage.
The athletes’ lounge is set away from the bustle of the main site, allowing elite competitors somewhere private to recover and relax before and after the race. The close proximity to the lake allows the elites to familiarise themselves with the course before race day. Within this area is the anti-doping control room, where samples were being taken and promptly flown out to Europe for testing.
The centre piece of the entire event is the Serpentine Lake, which is served by the iconic blue pontoon and marshalled by a team of kayakers. Volunteers are the driving force behind the success of the event with a vast team of people carrying out roles across the park.
The field of play stretches the breadth of the park from Cumberland Gate to Lancaster Gate, and down to Hyde Park corner. Within the park the internal roads are closed to all vehicles and traffic for the duration of the weekend.
Next year the British leg of the World Triathlon Series moves to Leeds- the success of the Hyde Park site will be used as a blueprint for the operational and logistical arrangements at the new location.
To register your interest in the Leeds WTS event, either to take part, spectate or to get behind the scenes and volunteer click HERE
Report written by Lucy Edwards (from Havering Triathlon Club and part of the London Region Media Team. You can follow Lucy on twitter @paddlepedalpace or her blog at www.paddlepedalpace.co.uk
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