Until age of 35 I can’t claim to have had an active lifestyle. I played a bit of GAA up to U16 and would have enjoyed regular recreational atlantic swims in Donegal. Christmas 2009 kick started it all with a Belfast Marathon 2010 pub challenge against 2 work colleagues who were regular 5k/10k runners who often talked about but never ran a Marathon. Im pretty sure with no 5k/10k runs, @127kg and 5months to the start line Boylesports would have given odds of 1000/1 to finish. Finish I did however in 5:01.
Finishing the Marathon was enjoyable and a lifestyle step change however the training was individual and solo. There had to be a more fun way of getting and staying in shape. I noticed the Newry Tri colours and buzz at Camlough lake in summer evenings 2010.
I signed up to Newry Tri in Winter 2010 and naively booked Crooked Lake, Top of Mourne and the Inaugural Galway Half IM for year ahead in 2011. The above were stepping stones to IM Majorca 2014 and IM Barcelona 2015 that wouldn’t have been possible without the following:
What does Club mean ?:
Triathlon is commonly mistaken as an individual sport. Yes, you do have to put in the individual effort and miles however the Newry Tri Club makes it an enjoyable and sociable team sport too. There is always great banter with supportive racing and training as we chase each others toes, heels and wheels and share the miles and smiles.
The ongoing club success is inevitably underpinned by the support and sharing of experience. Acceptance of beginner abilities and newby errors is also admirable. Owning up to a few of mine. (e.g Turning up on a frosty Feb morning without gloves and overshoes). Whats a chicken wing ?
I would like to thank and acknowledge the following influences since I joined in 2011. Undoubtedly 100s of other members could similarly testify.
- Encouragement and support from inspirational heroes and true legends of the sport. Tony, Milo and Mickey.
- Swim: Milo for changing exhaustive splashing to swimming and getting technique, float, breathing and sighting right !.
- Bike: Sean Featherstone patience and push on the bike and the infamous Hell Rides. When I say push he did literally give me a one-handed push up the Mournes one day !.
- Run: Oliver Harkins winter track sessions at the Bush really pushed the boundaries and took away the excuses in the early days. His professional coaching and planning showed the way to make the impossible possible for completion of 1st Ironman and further improvement in the 2nd .
- 4th event: too many to mention !
My Favourite event: Despite the infamous conditions (i.e toppling Canoes and surfers) the Galway Half IM was a great end to a first year at Tri. Crooked Lake hard to beat in terms of local banter, friendly faces and atmosphere. 2nd Ironman in Barcelona was the perfect race and outcome. Hell of West and Top of Mourne top of the list too.
Favourite distance: Half IM is challenging, doable and enjoyable without the bigger dedication and time commitment of Full IM.
Favourite Discipline : Open water Swim.
Earlier years addiction were the buzz and addiction of progress and improvement. This years focus is different:
- Time challenges in 2016 mean different choices this year with a hold on commitment to another full Ironman and different balance of work, Life and Tri commitments.
- Enjoy the sport and maintain form in Sprint, Olympic and Half IM Distance in 2016.
- Join the committee and help the Club and members.
Whats next ?:
- It all started with the run and I still hate it, no good at it and need to work at it so Dublin Marathon 2016 is the focus.
- The euphoria and rush of the finishing chute of completing an international Ironman event is something quite special and unforgettable and inevitably I will go back for more at some stage.