Nurse who looked after grandmother of Brownlee brothers to race in triathlon pair’s event

Vanessa Cox is set to take part in the Brownlee Tri, in Leeds, this weekend.
Vanessa Cox is set to take part in the Brownlee Tri, in Leeds, this weekend.

A kind-hearted Macmillan nurse who cared for the grandmother of triathlon greats Alistair and Jonny Brownlee is set to take part in her heroes’ event this weekend.

Vanessa Cox, of Newlands Avenue, Hartlepool, looked after Grace Brownlee, who lived in the town, late last year before she passed away.

The Brownlee brothers are my heroes, and when I spoke to Alistair, I was a bit star-struck

Vanessa Cox

The mother-of-three has since taken up triathlon, the sport synonymous with the Brownlee brothers, with Alistair and Jonny having won a gold and bronze medal respectively at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

They are hosting their own triathlon event at Leeds’ Harewood House on Saturday, and Vanessa will take part after meeting the famous siblings.

Mrs Cox, 46, said: “A friend suggested in March that I should take up triathlon, so I’ve been training since then.

“I looked after the grandmother of the Brownlee brothers late last year, so when I saw they had their event in Leeds in September, I thought I’d go for that.

“I spoke to Alistair on the phone, and he has agreed to meet me in Leeds, which I’m really looking forward to.

“The Brownlee brothers are my heroes, and when I spoke to Alistair, I was a bit starstruck.

“They’re heavily involved in the event, so I’m not sure how much time I’ll be able to get with them, but it will be a great experience.”

Vanessa has been training at least an hour a day, five times a week, in the lead-up to the event, and took part in the Big Lime Triathlon, in Hartlepool, on Sunday as part of her preparation.

The race will see participants swim for 750m, cycle for 20km and run for 5km.

She will be raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, and has already smashed her £300 target.

She added: “I’ve seen what good the money does. It makes a big difference to people’s lives.

“That’s why I’ve chosen to do it for Macmillan, because I see first-hand what a difference it makes to people living with cancer, and their families.

“My training for this has been going really well, and my target is to complete it in three hours.

“It’s three disciplines, so you have to train quite a lot to get better in all of them.”

n To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Vanessa-Cox