Triathlete Hugo Milner talks all things running, cycling and swimming at Derbyshire school

Hugo Milner paid a visit to St Peter’s School to share how he became a pro-athlete as he works towards his next goal of competing in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games
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A Derby triathlete who has represented Great Britain around the world has inspired youngsters to never give up on following their dream as he prepares for the Paris Olympics.

Hugo Milner paid a visit to St Peter’s School, in Littleover, to share his story of how he became a pro-athlete as he works towards his next goal of competing in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

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The 25-year-old, a former pupil of Littleover Community School, has been cross country running since he was just seven years old, but it has only been in the last two years that he has turned his hands to the triathlon – which includes running, swimming and cycling.

Hugo Milner with pupils from St Peter’s SchoolHugo Milner with pupils from St Peter’s School
Hugo Milner with pupils from St Peter’s School

Youngsters at the school - which is part of the Derby Diocesan Academy Trust – heard how Hugo joined the Derby Athletic Club where it was found he had a talent for long distance running and this was nurtured as he was growing up.

By the time he was 14, he was representing England in cross country and after working hard at school, he went to America to study environmental sciences at Harvard University.

He graduated in 2021 and returned home to Derby. This was during lockdown, and he found that he started doing more cycling, spending every day outside on his bike.

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When he could, he started swimming again and that is when he started taking on triathlons.

The pupils, aged between seven and 11, also had a chance to see his medals and glass trophy as they were passed around the assembly hall. After he had finished, the children were full of questions for the athlete.

Year 6 pupil Rosa Perkins, 11, who enjoys gymnastics, has said she now wants to pursue cross country more after listening to Hugo.

She said: “It was good, and I learned that you shouldn’t give up as if you work hard, you will get somewhere. If you work hard on your dreams, it will work out.

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“My favourite bit was when he showed us the medals and glass trophy. I do want to go into cross country more now – I liked it before, but this talk has made me want to do it more.”

Year 5 pupil Taniah Bryant,10, said: “I really enjoyed it. My favourite bit was when he said ‘never give up and you should never stop’ when you enjoy something. I really enjoy football and running.”

Hugo said he would like to go into more schools to speak with the pupils and share his experiences.

He said: “I think talking to young people like this is really important. When I think back to primary school, I was doing so many different sports but running was always my main one.

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“I hope it encouraged them to pursue what they enjoy and find out what they are good at – that’s different for everyone. It’s about having that mentality to find out what they are good at and try to be the best at it.

“I thought they asked really good questions that we were very relevant to what I was speaking about. I was surprised by how many questions there were. They were very thoughtful and I genuinely felt like they were interested.

“I’m also hoping it will encourage some of them to go to Derby Athletic Club as it is brilliant for young people who don’t know what sport they are good at to help them find it and progress.”

Headteacher Frazer Smith said: “It has been brilliant having Hugo in to speak to the pupils and I think having someone local in is more powerful to them. He is someone they can look up to. It is really inspirational and important that we do this.

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“I’m really impressed with how the children behaved as they showed how engaged they are. They were asking questions relevant to the content, and we are very fortunate he came in today.

“I would like to thank Hugo. He has done so much in such a short space of time with covid. Now he is competing for a space in the Olympic team and I think that’s incredible.”

Hugo Milner has competed in the World Triathlon Duathlon Championships, British Sprint Championships and the Europe Triathlon Cup Ceuta, among others. In 2023, he took on his first World Triathlon Cup and claimed tenth place. That same year he took the bronze mental at the Europe Triathlon Cup Wels and ended the season in Miyazaki with gold at the World Triathlon Cup there.