Turning the Rwandan Wheels of Development

20050212 Bike Kulekhani_31

Sport means so many things to different people. A challenge, the opportunity to push yourself further, to beat your own time, to beat the times of others, to keep fit, to stay healthy, to make friends, to travel, to wear lycra, to guiltlessly eat ten bowls of cereal a day.

People often ask me why I did ironman. What is the sense in pounding the tarmac for hours on end, or peddling up and down the same hill like a gerbil on a wheel or immersing your body in chlorine just to watch a black line? The answers are hard to articulate. For me it was the restless spirit that won’t sit still, the perfectionist that strives to be the best you can be, the masochist that craves risks and welcomes pain, the stubborn mule that won’t give up and a warrior who wants to win. A passion for sport has pumped through my veins since I was a kid running around the fields and playing kiss chase.

Although wearing skimpy lycra outfits has its appeal, as a teenager sport, for me, was about hanging out with my friends and meeting boys. My time as a club swimmer was notable not for pool based achievements, but for the fact that it was at the club disco that I had my first kiss. At university socialising far outweighed fitness as the raison d’etre for joining the swim squad. My swimming ability …

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“What’s your next challenge?”


I’ve just got back from the World Champs in Kona. It was fantastic to watch the athletes battle it out, to achieve dreams, to celebrate success and to mentally re-live my own races on the island.

I also felt content with the fact that I wasn’t there to race. I truly mean that. I did not feel the urge to toe the line. I love the island, and I loved being there but I didn’t want to be pounding Alli Drive with one eye on my stopwatch, or heading up the Queen K for that last pre-race ride. Of course I did some “training” while I was there. I will never stop doing sport for the sheer love and joy …

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4321 Challenge: a recap


After months and months of preparation, ups/downs, broken bones, healed bones, rebroken bones, blood, sweat and a fair few tears it’s so incredibly satisfying to being able to say that we actually completed the 4321 Challenge! For those who don’t know what these random digits stand for, the 4321 Challenge was basically a bonkers endurance feat concocted by four bonkers people who all happen to live in Bristol.

4 friends, 3 mountains, 2 wheels, 1 challenge.

It went a little something like this……

Start at the foot of Snowdon at 9am on Friday. Run 8 miles up the highest mountain in Wales, climbing nearly 2,789 feet. Hop on bikes for 168 miles of riding and 8,104 feet of climbing …

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Eating Disorders in Triathlon: a 220 article


For those who haven’t seen this 220 magazine article from 2013 is well worth a read.

Food for thought



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A Response to Parliamentary Commission on Physical Activity


Attached is my response to the UK’s Parliamentary Commission on Physical Activity’s recent call for evidence on increasing participation in physical activity, with parkrun as a case study. It’s rather long, but I hope it makes for interesting reading!

Physical Activity Commission Submission FINAL


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Response to DfE guidance on behaviour and discipline in schools


This is written in response to the Department for Education’s recent guidelines on behaviour and discipline in schools, in which it states that ‘extra physical activity such as running around a playing field’ could be used as a disciplinary measure.

The health, educational and societal benefits of physical activity are known and unequivocal. School is the one place where everybody gets the opportunity to take part in physical activity and, as such, has an important role in the development of a lifelong sporting habit.

The House of Commons Education Committee, in its report “ School sport following London 2012: No more political football” recognised school sport as a driver for improved health and educational outcomes, as well as helping …

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Breakfast Pancake Bonanza


I’m not known as being a good cook (salad is my speciality), nor am I vegan/vegetarian, a raw person or intolerant of anything (except perhaps intolerance) I just like to mess around with flavours and ingredients. Sometimes successfully, but usually the experiment turns into a complete, inedible mush that you would only feed to your dustbin (= ‘trash can’ for the American reader).

I digress.

Despite the culinary incompetence for which I am famed, this mornings ‘experiment’ was rather more successful, and resulted in what I have called a “breakfast pancake pile of deliciousness”.

Bear in mind that the quantities of each ingredient are totally approximate, and that I cannot be held responsible if your version of the BPPoD doesn’t …

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New Year’s musings: body confidence


Happy new year to you all! Hope you celebrated in style and are looking forward to an amazing 2014, full of challenges, goals, fun and laughter.

In response to some requests on Twitter, I thought i would republish my ‘A to a Q’ I received for my column in 220 Magazine  – all about body confidence ….

I am new to the Triathlon scene and what bothers me more than the actual race is the worry of not being comfortable within myself when wearing my Tri suit. This is not vanity, otherwise I’d be fussing over what colour, or what make the ‘cool’ kids on the scene are wearing. No, this is more about wanting to change my mind set

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An open letter to Simon Jenkins


Dear Mr Jenkins,

As four-time World Ironman Champion, this letter is in response to your 17 September ‘Evening Standard’ article regarding the ITU World Championship event, held in London on 11-15 September.

My response is structured around your main assertions and comments, as highlighted below:

“I am all for London serving as an occasional venue for such public events”.

It would be useful for the reader, politicians and sports’ governing bodies if you could elaborate on the criteria that would, in your view, make for a worthwhile public event.

The Notting Hill Carnival is held annually, affecting West London communities – yet is also rightly valued as a cultural celebration that is of immense social and economic importance. Equally, …

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What’s so great about parkrun?!


There is a clamouring for free, easy to access, community led, sociable, activities for all the family. parkrun is one such offering. Here are just some of the reasons why I have become involved in the organisation, and am leading the development of the series for juniors (4-14yr olds) across the UK.

  • Not-for-profit social enterprise delivering free opportunities for physical activity
  • A run not a race
  • Open to all, no matter what ability or background
  • Free, weekly, community based, timed 5k runs on Saturday mornings
  • 2km runs for juniors (currently 4 in the UK)
  • Organised by the community for the community
  • 209 locations throughout the UK
  • 90 global locations across USA, Australia, Denmark, Poland, South Africa, Republic of Ireland, New

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