Sunday, 31 May 2009

The Team...

There are about a million things on my 'I really must do' list, most of which have been delayed for months by swimbikerun training, then this week and next week by a veritable avalanche of marking and with Ironman Switzerland about to become priority numero uno they don't look set to happen any time soon! So, tonight I thought I'd deal with one of the most pressing, important and close to my heart.... Team Southerns.

Although triathlon is often seen as an individual sport, it's actually one of the most team orientated sports there is. Behind every single successful athlete are loads and loads of friends, family, colleagues and supporters who have made a very real contribution to that success. Throughout our amazing journey of the last four years H and I have been blessed with the phenomenal support, not to mention blind faith of so many people. Some have come and gone and some have been a constant from the first click on the 'enter here' icon to the most recent of finish line crossings in Lanzarote. I couldn't, and nor would I wish to, place these amazing pillars of strength in any kind of order, but certainly one of the most inspirational, motivational and 'without them we wouldn't be here' of these is our great friend Andy KJ and his Yorkshire based office interiors company (our amazing sponsor) 'Southerns'.

Some five years ago, before Ironman was even a twinkle in my eye, I made the mistake of mentioning the Marathon Des Sables to AKJ during a weights session... no sooner had I uttered the words 'five marathons in six days in the Moroccan desert' than the words 'enter it now and I'll pay for you... what are you waiting for?' came straight back at me!!! Not the response I was expecting to my 'talk the talk with no intention whatsoever of walking the walk' bravado... you'd have though I'd have learnt from the previous time my bluff had been called on such talk and I ended up following my Dad off a bridge 300 foot above a ravine in South Africa with nothing but a rather large rubber band to break my fall! Still, the addition of a couple of 20kg plates to the Olympic bar and the last thing on Andy's mind was paying for me to play in the sand ;)

A year or so went by and my dreams had turned to Ironman... once again the big man was there to 'nudge' me in the right direction. No sooner had I uttered the words 'I'm thinking about....' than there I was riding around freezing half to death in the coldest Yorkshire Dales winter for hours devoid of any excuse as to why I really would be better suited to a lie-in and a Sunday roast! Anyway... fast forward to May 2009 and here H and I are, several thousand training hours later with seven Ironman finishers medals between us, pb's of 9.56 and 10.53 respectively and absolutely positively knocking on the Kona door.

With insurance taken out earlier in the year we had hoped that qualifying in Lanza would allow us to pull out of Switzerland and claim back the £750 in entry fees and make a little bit extra out of the 'improved' exchange rate of the last 12 months. Unfortunately that obviously didn't happened and instead a couple of good races on July the 12th will see us parting with one thousand US dollars CASH 24 hours later by way of Kona entry! We've had so much more than financial support from Southerns over the last four years but there's always a bottom line and in this case it's simply a fact that without their help there is absolutely no way we could have afforded to get ourselves into our current position i.e. six weeks out from our 4th and 5th respective Ironman events and in shape to not only qualify for Hawaii but get there if we do.

So most of all we both just wanted to say THANKS to the KJs and all at Southerns for helping our Iron dreams come true.

Secondly, out of all of this craziness Andy and I have developed a concept called 'Team Southerns', we really aren't sure where it will take us (...although I do have a few thoughts about something to do with this). We're trying to bring together principles of achievement from the sporting and business worlds in order that each can promote and support the other. It's the first 'proper' website that I've ever put together and H did all the graphics/images for it... we're pretty pleased so far and would love you to pop over to and let us know your thoughts? The most recent article is our great Ironfriend Sam's Lanzarote race report, which you can find here, it's definitely one of the most inspirational reports I've ever read... be prepared to sign up straight after ;)

Anyway, this being Sunday of 'recovery week' and recovery being all about sleep... I'm off to bed.

Thanks for all your amazing support, we've finally got round to answering all last week's comments.

See you in seven,



Rogier, Natalie & Rhys said...

Hi Tom,

I had a look at the team Southerns website and must say I am intrigued by the concept and the tag line of 'together everyone achieves more' My interest is fueled by: 1 the management consultant in me and 2 the recreational athelete in me. I'll be following your developments and am happy to help/contribute if that is possible from this side of the world.

Ben G said...

that 'something to do with this' looks very interesting Mr Tom...RAAM...tasty...

Jevon said...

want to back up what you've said about Andy KJ and Southerns. I've got to know Andy through you and he's a top bloke. More like that and the world would be a better place.

Anonymous said...

Like Jevon I too met Andy and his family through you. They're a great bunch with the right attitude towards taking part in sport and achieving at every level. They're always there for Team Southerns wherever it might be in the world. I can't wait for Andy to overcome his injury and achieve even greater things for himself too.

Tom said...


Watch this space... as soon as I get time our email discussion will be on there, great stuff ;)


When, not if ;)




See above, hopefully the entire KJ crew will be in Hawaii cheering us to glory ;)