: May 2013
Years ago when my dad got sent to jail, he didn’t take it well at all. He refused all offers of food and drink, spat and swore at anyone who came near him and smeared his ‘business’ all over the walls. That was the last time we ever played Monopoly.
Joking aside, the Brunts have always been competitive, and I’ve clearly inherited this gene because after the recent bout of mojo-loss mentioned in my last column (here), I’ve returned to my competitive best (worst) and am back to the point where I’m racing shoppers round the supermarket with a trolley.
The spark for this surge of gusto came in a recent XC race when I was toiling near the back only to be shoved out of the way by another runner. I’m not exactly sure what happened next because everything went blurred and shouty, and the next thing I knew I was sprinting over the line in 15th place, collecting a gold medal as part of the winning team. Additionally I hammered the guy who shoved me, though I had to endure all his post-race excuses for why he lost, using rich and vibrant language that enabled him to sound knowledgeable despite being what
we linguists call ‘a knob’.
The upshot of this performance is that I’ve since been merrily entering races for the season ahead confident that my mojo is fully restored. And not only do the races I’ve been enthusiastically entering all have the sound of danger about them – the Avenger, the Swashbuckler, the Monsterman and the, er, Anglian – but I’ve also been doing what all triathletes do before the tri season starts, namely inventing my own triathlons.
It’s written in the Triathlon Bible that: “Thou shalt not enter running races unless thou cycleth to them, nor shalt thou do a swimming event unless thou runneth during the interval, and after any cycling time-trial thou shalt jump off thy bike and go for a hard run – otherwise thy races do not count and thou cannot braggeth on Facebook.”
As a result of this unspoken code, I found myself planning to race in a swimming gala on the Isle of Wight followed swiftly by a 10-mile run near Poole. No cycling sadly, although had there been a pedalo for hire at Cowes I’d have given
it a go to reach Portsmouth.
I was joined in my island adventures by my mate Keith Burdett, a bleached wookie who looks like Father Ted’s stunt double. We travelled down and stayed over in my campervan, which is always a risk because spending time with your mates on holiday dramatically increases the risk of finding out what they’re really like. Keith is a mild-mannered man until you add water, at which point he becomes an instant-b*stard who views all his competitors with the same hostility as a cornered badger.
It’s also written in the Triathlon Bible that: “Thou shalt try to beat thy mates above all others”, so despite the presence of lots of other competitors, the fiercest rivalry was the Brunt vs Burdett celebrity death-match. The first part of the DIY-Tri challenge involved doing seven swimming races in a day. First blood went to Keith, who trounced me in the 800m freestyle. Revenge was mine in the 100m medley, and after that we set about thrashing each other until even our hair hurt. Honours ended reasonably before we legged it for the ferry for the evening crossing. Late and cold when we arrived at our campsite, the atmosphere was as equally frosty when I jokingly implied to the stuffy campsite owners that Keith and I were a couple, a comment that went down like a horse in a burger. Fortunately I concealed the subsequent awkward silence by saying, “Well, this is awkward.”
Part deux of the DIY-Tri was the Lydgetts 10, a hilly run around country lanes near Poole, which ended in narrow victory for Brunt (otherwise I wouldn’t have written about it), although Keith got some measure of revenge by farting in the campervan on the way home and almost rendering me unconscious.
So what have we learned? Well, I’ve learned that Keith makes a sh*t cup of tea, and Keith has learned that I have a staggering definition of what constitutes “personal hygiene”. And we’ve both learned that no matter what single-discipline races we do, we’re triathletes through and through because we can’t do a run without a swim, a swim without a ride, or a ride without a run. Oh, and we both hate losing.