John Lunt has always loved endurance sport. He did his first triathlon in 1984 and raced Iron distance triathlon in 1987. He also has a penchant for organising things. In 1990 he decided to channel these two interests into his career and created the events company Human Race.
“This was in the days when mass participation endurance sport was in its early phases,” says John. “I loved swimming, cycling and running and triathlon naturally followed. Organising these events was a way that I could pursue my passion and make a difference.”
He was the mastermind behind iconic events such as the Windsor Triathlon, Eton Supersprints, Kids SuperTri, WomenOnly triathlons, the Kingston Breakfast Run and open water swims along the Thames at Windsor, Marlow and from Hampton Court to Kingston Bridge. John was also behind the creation of the UK’s first mass participation 10km swim, in 2011, at Dorney Lake.
John’s extensive experience in managing events led him to being offered – and accepting – the role of Triathlon Competition Manager at the 2012 London Olympics where he also worked closely with the organisers of the open water swimming marathon (including Colin Hill, now of Chill Swim) due to their shared venue in Hyde Park. Around the same time there was an offer on the table to purchase Human Race, which he took up.
While for some people this might have been an opportunity to retire, John soon turned his organising skills to develop a new business: BspokeEvents.co.uk
“I still love organising events, especially when I can put them on in beautiful or iconic locations,” says John. “However, BspokeEvents.co.uk is very different from Human Race as our primary focus is creating small scale, friendly, specialist sporting events and working with the corporate sector.”
But John hasn’t stepped away completely from organising mass participation events. When Poole Lifeguards asked for his help in organising a revived Poole Sea Swim, he couldn’t say no.
“Poole is a great location for an open water swim, I love being down here and the Poole Lifeguards are so passionate about open water swimming as we see from their involvement with the Brownsea Island swim. The scenery is stunning: you have the Purbeck Hills and Old Harry Rocks in the background and Sandbanks Beach nearby. The Blue flag water quality is excellent, Poole is easy to get to from London, there is plenty of parking and we have catering and toilets already on the site. And don’t forget that Poole Harbour is the second biggest natural harbour in the world.”
The new Poole Sea Swim (www.pooleswim.com) will this year offer three distances: 750m (primarily targeted at first timers), 1500m (to tie in with standard distance triathlon) and 3000m. The latter has so far proved the most popular. Wetsuits will be optional, as will the use of neoprene gloves, socks and hats. Proceeds from the event will go to support Poole Lifeguards.
As for future plans, John wasn’t giving too much away but he did mention he’s definitely planning to create more swimming events. One of these will be a warm water 2km swim in St Lucia alongside the St Lucia Triathlon in November (see www.tristLucia.com for details).