Sunday, 11 October 2009

Courage, passion and conviction...

Here we are, once again celebrating the athletic genius/perfection/awesomeness of GREAT British athlete Chrissie Wellington. I've lost track of how many Ironman victories that is, but to makes things easy for us 'stattos' let just say she's never lost, for in the world of Wellington it's significantly quicker to count defeats over victories.You know when someone is truly special at what they do when you still get great enjoyment from their performance despite the outcome being decided practically before the start gun's finished smoking. In a similar way to Tiger Woods or Roger Federer she's simply a joy to watch, the opposition merely there to add some decoration to the occasion. On what was clearly not a fast day she snuck under the 17 year old course record and won by 19 minutes and 57 seconds, to put that in perspective there was only 18 minutes between the first and 15th (yes, that's 15th) male athletes. It's rare that I enjoy such sporting domination, she certainly doesn't possess what one could accurately describe as a rival and even the term 'under-dog' suggests a sporting chance which clearly no female athlete (and few male for that matter) has the luxury of having! What really is scary though is the fact that she clearly has more to give, I think we'd be naive to think she didn't push herself very very hard this weekend but there's certainly more in the tank. She probably rode that bike course more 'solo' than any other athlete... imagine if she could find a couple more minutes in the swim and get out on the bike with the main group of male pros? The first female swimmer hit T1 with Craig Alexander... perhaps CW could stay with him!

Talking of Craig Alexander, you'd do well to find a more measured performance anywhere in elite sport and I got the feeling that he knew exactly where every other athlete was during every single minute of his 8:20:21 effort. It's almost like he has some kind of in-built radar system that tracks everything around him and allows him to execute the perfect race performance based on the situation at any given time. Although not quite as dominant as Chrissie you also feel with Alexander that there is plenty plenty more. I'd hoped this year that someone would step up to the challenge and force something special but with 'only' a 2:48 run needed it's back to the drawing board for all his rivals... although I'm not sure they actually are ;)

As for my third prediction... exiting the water in 4th and clear of the main contenders it was game on for Phil Graves from the start and by the early stages of the bike he'd ridden into the lead and set about making his mark on this great race. For nearly 50 miles Phil had us all screaming full volume at the video feed, a display of courage, passion and conviction of which we should all be extremely proud. Racing isn't about about making up the numbers, it's about putting yourself on the line without fear of failure and letting the cards fall where they may... at 20 years of age (that's 17 years younger than the current champion) he did just that and with the world at his feet the next decade or two promise to be quite a ride.

Last of all, but certainly not least of all, a MASSIVE WELL DONE to all our amazing fellow age-group athletes for taking on the 140.6 miles of 100 degree Hawaiian challenge. Some surpassed their goals, some hit them and some missed them but YOU ARE ALL CHAMPIONS.

Recover well and thanks for the inspiration,


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