This is traditionally the time of year when sports clubs hold their annual awards evenings, handing out trophies and three-course dinners to all those who have spent the year taking things far too seriously. While not quite in the same league as BBC Sports Personality of the Year (and on that subject, where the bloody hell is Chrissie Wellington’s name on the list of people we can vote for!!!) the prizes are just as hotly contested and hard to win – especially if there’s any cash involved.
Being a triathlete means you’re often in several clubs at once, meaning lots of awards nights to go to, lots of awards to win, or – as is more often the case – lots of opportunities to have the p*ss ripped out of you. Unfortunately I missed my cycling club’s annual dinner earlier this month. I say “unfortunately” because I was due to pick up some cold, hard cash after winning a 30-mile time-trial back in June. However, because I wasn’t there to collect my prize in person, it appears to have been “mislaid”. My guess it was “mislaid” somewhere in the vicinity of the bar, on or around the time that several pints of Guinness appeared. Theft aside, I was more disappointed to miss the sight of the lads after their annual excursion to the suit-hire shop, wearing an assorted bunch of tuxedos from the 70s and 80s that made them look like they were out on a naff night. Who says sport isn’t fashionable?
Last week it was the turn of my triathlon club to give out its awards. The tri guys were also out in their best bib and tucker, looking disconcertingly like a bunch of wookies dressed by Primark. Fortunately I was able to make this awards night – I say “fortunately” because my various escapades this year saw me pick up the much coveted club booby prize after a landslide public vote.
On top of the usual awards for best athlete, club champions etc, my tri club has an annual “Who Got Hammered” award for determination in the face of adversity. Previous winners have included people who have got lost in time trials, run 5k with a set of Allen keys in their trainers, and, in the case of 2008 winner Tony Nutt, been pulled off a course for missing the cut-off just 500 yards from the finish line. But 2009 my time after my recent encounter with a van that saw me bust my arm a week before Ironman Florida. I should point out that I also managed to win the award for most improved athlete along with my close friend and training buddy, Phil Richmond. However, it’s the Hammer that grabbed the headlines and put me in the spotlight for some richly earned mocking.
This weekend it’s the turn of my swimming club to have its awards night and shortly after that the same will happen at my running club, who have a similar award to the Hammer known as the “Animal Award”, and for which I’m a contender for having run a 1:20 half marathon in a blizzard three days after smashing my face up and giving myself concussion in a training accident. So all in all it’s been a rollercoaster year – I’ve run a sub-3 hour marathon, swum the channel, broken the hour for a 25 mile TT, smashed my Ironman personal best and set new PBs for 5k run, 10k run and 10 mile TT. I’ve also broken my arm, cut my head open, scarred my face, sprained my wrist and torn a multitude of muscles. So the moral of the story is – before you attempt to beat the odds, make sure you can survive the odds beating you!
PS – thanks for all the good wishes about my arm. The recovery is going very well indeed, the plaster is off and the fracture has knitted together nicely. My physiotherapy has begun and I’ve been out running, turbo-training and even tried a swim. Consequently life is worth living again.