TRIATHLON Q & A: John Lunt
With a countdown to EARTH, SEA & FIRE race currently underway, we try and give our best and make this first ever triathlon in Dubrovnik a success. The core of every sports event is people: competitors and organizers. Meet John Lunt, a big name in UK Triathlon and the founder of our sister-race Brighton and Hove Triathlon.
Q & A WITH JOHN LUNT
We carry out a light-hearted interview with a big name in UK sports circles. This month, we are delighted to welcome renowned early UK triathlon pioneer, 2012 Olympic triathlon Competition Manager, serial entrepreneur and original founder and owner of Human Race, John Lunt, to the Earth, Sea & Fire Dubrovnik Triathlon blog.
John Lunt is perhaps one of the best-known names in UK triathlon – the arduous sport involving swimming, cycling and running. For over 25 years John has organized up to 40 high-profile events per year, including the infamous ‘Winter Ballbuster Duathlon’, Windsor Triathlon, the Kingston Breakfast Run, and October running festivals. Recently he organized the Brighton & Hove Triathlon, as well as the St Lucia Triathlon.
John Lunt also made sure London 2012 delivered an outstanding Triathlon event, which he admits to being the highlight of his entire career to date. His current company, BspokeEvents.co.uk, has been once again setting the standard in corporate, group and open events and is partnering with a number of charities and sports brands.
With a profile like that, it’s probably inevitable that John Lunt should be a former long-distance contestant completing 9 IronMan distance events. He did his first triathlon in 1984, and since then he has raced in Canada, France (he finished Nice nine times), Holland, Hawaii, the Canaries, USA, and Australia.
Although at the end of 2013 he sold and left his company Human Race – the organization he founded in 1990 – he kept promoting numerous races every year and has encouraged thousands of adults and kids alike from all over the world to swim, run and cycle. The growth in participant numbers has been phenomenal; the first Windsor Triathlon attracted 250 athletes and now draws more than 3,000.
Without John Lunt, we have to wonder where triathlon within the UK would be today. But we’re not without him, and we can say that he is in the midst of organizing the Brighton and Hove Triathlon (16 September 2018) and the first every Dubrovnik triathlon with his good friend, Croatian Daniel Marušić.
Q: We know you did your first triathlon in 1984. How did you get into it?
A: One of my work colleagues at the time got me ready for a race that September as a bit of summer training getting ready for the winter Rugby season. I guess doing that triathlon changed my life…
Q: How did the Dubrovnik triathlon come about?
A: I met Daniel Marušić through a mutual friend and triathletes always get on well as they have so much in common. Daniel wanted a high profile triathlon event and I said I’d love to be part of it. I’ve been out a number of times and helped Alen Bošković at his 2nd Dubrovnik Half marathon. I love the place.
Dubrovnik is a wonderful place to visit and the Croatian people are so friendly. Dubrovnik will be a wonderful setting for a triathlon.
Q: Brighton and Hove Triathlon is growing as we speak. Lots of female entries and first-time triathletes, plus there Children’s Triathlon. Looks like you’re putting quite a lot of effort towards diversity of the event
A: Brighton is a very diverse city!
We have brought a new sport to the City – and Triathlon has always been a very inclusive and equal sport. We pride ourselves on having equal prizes and equal prize money for males and females. In all of our marketing, we have stressed that anyone can take part and enjoy being part of a tri-sport triathlon. Relay teams are very popular. We have worked hard at getting children into the sport working with schools, clubs, and teachers. This year we will have over 150 children (8-14) taking part, which is wonderful for the sport to grow.
Q: We’ve seen quite a lot of Brits participating in the running events in the region. Can we expect the same with triathlons?
A: Yes, I think we will get a lot of Brits coming out to race in Dubrovnik. There are plenty of flights from the various airport, which will certainly help. Already we have quite a few entries from the UK. I’m sure this will grow over the coming years.
Q: What are the most important factors for a successful triathlon event?
A: There are so many things that make a great triathlon.
Clearly, the location is important and Dubrovnik will be fantastic. Having a great delivery crew is very important. They all need to know about the sport and how to manage all the various aspects of the delivery. For an athlete – it has to be as stress-free as possible, safe and fair with no additional complications.
Q: What race are you most proud of organizing and why?
A: The London Olympics 2012 Triathlon, which was the pinnacle of my organizing career. I was proud to show off my city of London with such a fabulous event and occasion. The whole of London 2012 was an amazing and an incredible experience. (Prior to this, I was appointed in 2008 and went to Beijing to see how they organized their Olympics.) For me, it was 4.5 years work compressed into 4.5 hrs of sport….! Its an event I shall never forget.
Q: Where did you go on the last holiday you had and with who?
A: I went to Ibiza on a family holiday, with my two teenage sons and wife.
Q: Which of the three disciplines do you prefer – swim, bike or run?
A: Many years ago I would have said running, but now the bike, because I find it far more enjoyable – especially when it’s sunny and dry! The old legs can’t take the battering from running anymore.
Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: Steak with baked jacket potato and salad.
Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I had no idea and still don’t! But I was always involved in sport and fell into event organizing. I’m pleased that I did.
Q: If your house was burning down, what would be the three things that you’d save?
A: Family/Dog, laptop and old family photographs that are not replaceable.
Q: What TV programme are you watching at the moment?
A: The World Cup Football, Olympics! I watch all sorts, but mostly sport and nature programs.
Q: What’s your favorite type of music?
A: I grew up in the punk and hard rock era, happy to listen to anything. If I don’t like it, I switch it off….
Q: Can you sing?
A: Absolutely not. However, Don’t mind a bit of ABBA when in the car on my own…
Q: Have you ever been star-struck and by whom?
A: No not really, I’ve never really been fazed – but I might if I met people like Bill Clinton or the late Mohammed Ali.
Q: What was the last film you saw at the cinema and was it any good?
A: I went to the cinema with my wife to see Captain America: Civil War. It wasn’t very good.
Q: If you were The President for the day, what three things would you change about the world?
A: I would disqualify drivers who drive in the middle lane on a motorway when the inside lane is empty. I’d make sure kids were taught tolerance and understanding on diversity, inclusion, religions, and culture. I’d also try and stop all the wars that are going on at the moment for one day, I’d put the leaders into a room and not allow them out until they’d found a solution…..
Q: Tell us something not many people know about you?
A: I love ice cream!
Q: Who’s your favorite/most inspirational person you’ve met or would like to meet?
A: I would say Seb Coe (Head of the Olympics/IAAF President) was a very inspirational guy, he definitely commanded my respect and he knows how to gets things done. Also, I’d love to have met Nelson Mandela, also to meet Bill Clinton, lots of people speak very highly of him.
Q: What was your favorite kids’ toy?