Norwich triathlete’s talks of race against the Brownlee brothers ahead of London 2012 Olympics triathlon

As Team GB's Brownlee brothers go for a one-two in today's Olympic triathlon, KATE SCOTTER caught up with Norwich triathlete Matt Ellis to talk about his experience of racing against the tri sensations.

'They may as well have been in a different race', reflected Norwich triathlete Matt Ellis after he raced against two of the best triathletes in the world.

For those two triathletes, Yorkshiremen Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, will go into today's race at London Hyde Park as favourites following their world domination in the sport.

Between them, the brothers have triumphed in eight of the last races in the ITU (International Triathlon Union) World Triathlon Series and they ended the 2011 season ranked first and second in the world.

Alistair, 24, who has this season battled back from injury, is the current world champion, while Jonathan, 22, was the runner-up. They are formidable athletes in their own right - and together make a world-beating team.

Their race will begin at 11am today with a 1,500m swim in the Serpentine followed by a 43km cycle race and a 10km run to the finish line.

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Just two months ago, Mr Ellis, who has this year stepped up from amateur to professional level in triathlon, raced against the siblings at Blenheim, near Oxford.

He said they were in a 'different league'.

The 34-year-old, who works at Marsh in Norwich, said: 'It was absolutely amazing lining up against them in Blenheim, Alistair's fitness was unknown but we all expected that they would race together which is how they attacked the bike.

'They are in a different league on the international scene and domestically they may as well have been in a different race, even the other full time athletes couldn't keep with them.

'The only thing we had in common is that they also thought they commented that the water was 'freezing' while we were warming up.'

Mr Ellis' race against the Brownlees has come in a season of strong results for the former Fakenham High School pupil which has seen him become national champion for his age group at the sprint triathlon championships and sacrifice the opportunity to defend his title at Norwich Triathlon to compete against some top names in triathlon at the 5150 European Championships in Liverpool where he finished 14th.

Ahead of today's Olympic triathlon, which will see a cohort of members from Norwich-based triathlon club Tri-Anglia travel to Hyde Park to watch the event, Mr Ellis said it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds.

The Brownlee brothers have been warned they will not be allowed to cross the line together so not only will they be racing against the world's best but also each other.

Mr Ellis, who will be competing at the 70.3 European championships next week in Germany and has been helped in his first year racing pro by physiotherapists at the Jefford Centre in Norwich, nutritionist Mary Skelcher and bike shop Streetlife Cycles, said: 'If they race honestly and in a way we are used to seeing - lead the swim, attack the bike and run off the front - there is no one in the world who will be able to match them.

'If they try and race tactically and it comes down to a big group run there are a couple of guys to watch including Russia's Richard Murray who recently outran Javier Gomez.

'The most interesting race will be the race between the two of them.'

Have you competed against an Olympian? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email

For all the latest Olympic news turn to today's eight-page Olympic supplement.