There are many reasons why I love triathlon. Feeling fit and healthy is awesome, cycling in the hills or running off-road on a beautiful day always puts a massive grin on my face and then there’s the buzz of crossing a finish line. Spending the day at Wilmslow Sprint Triathlon reinforced another major factor. Quite simply, triathlon attracts inspiring people. And I was so lucky to be able to meet some of them in my role as a Racebuddy for Raceforce.
The person who had a particular impact on me was a woman who looked sick with nerves in transition. You might not associate nerves with inspiration. But I was inspired. This was someone who was taking a risk, pushing her boundaries and taking herself completely out of her comfort zone.
At first she didn't want to tell me why she was so nervous because she was concerned she’d look silly. I assured her there were no stupid questions and then she admitted she was petrified of being the only person doing breaststroke and being last out of the water in her wave. I promised her it would be ok, but I could sense her fear. It was the exact same fear I had when I turned up to my first triathlon in 2011. I was so scared I just wanted to turn around and go home.
So when I spotted her with a huge grin on her face at the finish line a couple of hours later, I felt so happy for her. She said she had absolutely loved the whole experience and would definitely be racing again at Xtra Mile Events South Manchester Triathlon in September. Bingo!
Watching people’s faces when they crossed the line became addictive. There were people of all shapes and sizes. There were people on mountain bikes, others on bikes with baskets, some on retro fixed-gear bikes, many on borrowed bikes. You name it, we saw it. But everyone felt that same sense of pride and inspired someone else when they crossed that finish line. It was brilliant to see.
I was lucky enough to race too and because I had been so busy calming the nerves of others, I felt more relaxed than normal before the start. Yes, I still had to go to the toilet three times in the space of ten minutes and was doing a lot of nervous yawning, but I didn't have those deep, horrid feelings in the bottom of my stomach I so often experience. I had a great race and couldn’t stop smiling. Bringing the new Race force kit across the line in 3rd place topped off a fantastic day.
Xtra Mile Events and their volunteers and marshals nailed it, again. Gordon the Raceforce mechanic was on superb form with the pump and the camera. And hats off to the guy who ran out of the pool in just his speedos before 0700 on a chilly May morning. Brrrr!
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