What an amazing day and a big thank you to Katie and the team at Vitality. After a long journey down to London, my son Ben (35) and I (64) reckoned we were ready for the Triathlon. My wife Collette, daughter Jenna and Ben’s girlfriend Lucy who were in the support group known as ‘Team Clare’ were set and willing to cheer us on during the event.

The run up to this day was fraught as neither Ben nor I had put as much training in as we needed and wanted to. Ilness, injury, work, plague and pestilence had been rife and we neither felt confident nor full of beans but, as with everything we do as a family, there was no holding us back as we lined up for the swim.

This went well and Ben was out of the water first or second but waited for me bless him and we met up after I left the water. Transition 1 was a long drawn out affair and the rain and wind really kicked in. I’m used to this on the coast in the lifeboat and while lifeguarding on a surf beach, but was it necessary in Hyde Park for goodness sake!? Still, waterproofs and soggy cycling kit on and away we went. It felt pretty good until lap 5 when the lack of training gave me a bit of a belt. Transition 2 was ok and we started running, still in waterproofs due to the rain and cold but, by the end of lap 1 they were cast aside and we started to race. Er, um until lap 4 when I felt really rough. Fortunately the mind over matter and cheering crowd lifted my spirits and we continued on. With the finish line approaching we went for it, cheered on by ‘Team Clare’ and a very soggy crowd. Photo’s, glory, beers and hugs. All part of the victors spoils made even better by the fact that I beat my PB by 15 minutes and came 2nd in my age group of 65 years – RESULT! The rest of the day passed with fish, chips and mushy peas devoured, washed down with Dr Merlot’s panacea for every conceivable ill. It was perfect.

So would I do it again? Errr….ummm…YES!

It just goes to show what old guys and girls can do with a bit of effort. I’m no athlete just an old RNLI lifeboat man and beach lifeguard who likes to keep fit. If anyone else is thinking of doing this, have a ‘Tri’ and see what you think. It isn’t as bad as you might imagine and the buzz of crossing that finsh line can’t be beaten.

Finally, a big thank you to the organisers. Great course, very pretty – when you could see it through the clouds and rain! Those working at the event – marshals, drink suppliers etc. – were always cheery, even when the weather gave us all a kicking. Of course thanks to ‘Team Clare’ who are very patient putting up with me and my strange habits.  Last one, thanks to Katie for having a photo with me at the end. It went down well with the lifeguards and lifeboat crew who were completely jealous! What a  result! See you at Tri next year folks. Cheers, Tony

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