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“What’s your next challenge?”

24/10/14

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 of it, but I didn’t once regret the decision I made to retire.

The most common question I was asked by the (fantastic!) people I met in Kona was “when are you coming back to race again?” My simple reply of “I’m not” was closely followed by the next question: “So what’s your next challenge?”

The second question is so much harder to respond to.

When people kindly ask about my next challenge, I assume they mean something physical in nature. A race, an event, an epic adventure – running across a continent bare foot, climbing a 8000m peak or ten, rowing across shark infected waters, bungee jumping naked off tall buildings. I don’t blame them for making these assumptions; …

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4321 Challenge: a recap

7/5/14
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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. http://4321challenge.org

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

11/3/14

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

Food for thought

C

220_282_eatingdisordersV2Final

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A Response to Parliamentary Commission on Physical Activity

25/2/14

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

5/2/14

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.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/277662/Behaviour_and_Discipline_in_Schools_-_A_guide_for_headteachers_and_school_staff.pdf

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

24/1/14
BPPoD

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

7/1/14

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

23/9/13

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.

http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/simon-jenkins-we-play-second-fiddle-to-boris-johnsons-sports-stunts-8821750.html

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?!

31/8/13
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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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Increasing participation of women and girls in physical activity

22/8/13

I read this BBC report today with interest.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23778945

It tells of falling participation in physical activity and sport amongst women and growing disengagement of young girls, in the UK. This is based on a study undertaken by University College London, in 2008-9.

The researchers found just 51% of the 6,500 children they monitored achieved the recommended hour of physical activity each day. For girls, the figure was just 38%, compared with 63% for boys.

Granted this was 5 yrs ago and hopefully much has changed since then, and especially following the 2102 Olympics.

But we don’t need statistics to tell us of the deep rooted, endemic problem. We only have look around us to see sedentary lifestyles, social unrest, …

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