Friday, July 29, 2016

My Hero, Triathlete and TV Star!

Last Sunday, 24th July 2016, My much better half, Jon, raced his very last full-length iron-man distance triathlon. The grand-daddy of triathlon distances is nothing like the triathlons in which the Leeds-based Brownlee brother excel. Not only are they different distances), the rules are totally different. But I won't bore you with them here.

A bit about the term IRONMAN. The word is actually a trademark of one company that runs many races world-wide. Other such races call themselves many names but not 'Ironman' (although they are all generic ironman-distance races.) It's like Hoovers versus the rest of the excellent vacuum cleaners available.

In a nutshell. This Ironman-distance disciple is this. Swim: 2.4 miles. Bike: 112 miles. Run (marathon) 26.2 miles. Phew, it exhausts me to type them! The very top competitors can complete one in & to 8 hours. However, most competitors are sheer amateurs and are classified into various age-groups.

Although Jon is not 65 until September, all triathletes are treated like race horses and all have their  birthdays on January the First. This year Jon is in the 65+ group. Those of you who know me or follow this blog will know that not only is Jon an amazing athlete, he has a major health issue. When he was a teenager, he caught rheumatic fever just before it was totally eradicated in the the first world. (It is still rampant outside Europe.) Anyway, rheumatic fever damages the heart. Jon had no sign of any illness until recently although his heart was rapidly going downhill until he was given eighteen months to live unless he had his aortic heart valve replaced in  a pioneering operation several years ago. He has now recovered but along the way, he suffered a stroke, had a pacemaker fitted and then a carbon-fibre aortic heart valve.

Most people would rest on their laurels, enjoy a restful retirement. But not my Jon! This year, we made the decision that he would complete in his very last full iron-man distance race and then concentrate on the half-distance long races and even marathons or other long running races. He is annoyed that he has slowed considerable because of his heart (which has suffered to much damage over the years to ever function like new.)

And so it was, On 24th July 2016, we headed back to the National Water-sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham for The Outlaw 2016. (We know the venue well)

It dawned a lovely day, not too hot or too cold. It was a full and busy day, and that's just us spectators! Jon got into the water at 6am and didn't cross the finish-line until around 9pm and the number of hours and minutes he took altogether was 14 hours, 40 minutes and 29 seconds. Many many competitors did not finish, either because they ran out of time allowed for each discipline or they gave up. It could have been illness or injury, sheer fatigue of illness or even as problem with their bike. I have enormous sympathy for them all because all of them are heroes, having trained worked so hard for months or years before they even got to the start line.

Oh and Jon was one of the competitors who will be  featured on the resuting TV programme as a 'human-interest" story!  Although he was interviewed and filmed throughout the day, we do not know how much will be shown. (They say they always film 4 times more footage than they use.)


If you're interested, then make a note of the following dates and times on your TV: I don't know what the programme will be called but I guess The Outlaw Triathlon 2016 - or words to that effect.

  • Channel 4:  3rd September  7am
  • British Eurosport: 14th September 17:30
  • Sky Sports 3 SD: 27th August 19:01 & 28th August 08:01 - additional overnight transmissions too.

 Photos. Copyright WebCam.


As you've probably realised, my blog has been dormant for far too long - well, it's been a long winter.  Although this blog has b...