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, the annual Wimbledon tennis championship takes place over two weeks – with the Men’s and Women’s finals being held on separate days – and causes traffic congestion for those living in South West London but is, again, hugely important as a sporting spectacle, and an economic and social win for the majority. Football matches cause inconvenience for some local residents on a weekly basis. The annual London Marathon results in closed roads and diversions, but it’s an amazing spectacle and one of which London can be rightly proud. We need these public sporting events to normalise physical activity, enable local people to watch it live and facilitate participation.

The ITU World Championships formed part of UK Sport’s Gold Event Series …

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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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Increasing participation of women and girls in physical activity


I read this BBC report today with interest.

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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Be the Change


I have been promoted to write this blog for a number of reasons.

First was the email I received this morning from a very close friend with the words, “We cannot lose a single day in changing the world“. Second, was another email I received from an amazingly passionate person asking for suggestions for how he could put his desire to help others to practical use. Third, with today being the Anniversary of the opening of the London Olympics, it reminds us all of the invaluable part played by the volunteers – the amazing “Games Makers” – in making the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics the greatest sporting event the world has ever seen.

And last, I took a …

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Digestible Words on Race Day Nutrition


Getting your nutrition right – what you eat and when – will have a big impact on your race result. Obviously this is more important the longer the triathlon, so its important for all athletes to spend time thinking about and (hopefully!) practicing before race day to minimize the risk of GI distress or bonking (fun, but not in the tri context!).

Nutrition and hydration are very individual: what works for one may not work for another. Much comes down to your own physiology, the course and conditions, palatability, (in)tolerances and race duration. Think about each of these aspects; as well as aid station provision (and whether you’ll use it). Training and racing are times for learning and refinement. Use …

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The fireworks have exploded, gym memberships have been purchased (and promptly forgotten about by half the population), it’s raining, its cold, it’s still dark at 4.30pm (at least it is in the UK), and progress towards your virtuous, vodka-fuelled New Year resolutions maybe experiencing a slight winter wobble.  Of all the questions I am asked, the most common has to be ‘how do you stay motivated?’ People tend to assume that pros are blessed with unwavering and limitless drive, determination and vitality; that we never feel lethargic or lazy, and that the thought of donning the passion-killing ‘onesie’ and performing a sofa-slump never crosses our minds. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I, like the rest of the human …

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Announcements, nervousness and new beginnings


 “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Over the past 12 months I have had time to reflect and think about my life journey thus far and also of my future.  Being a professional ironman athlete has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I have achieved more than I could have ever imagined, and been so fortunate to travel to some beautiful places, compete against the best athletes in the world, and forge many lasting friendships. Those life-changing experiences and memories will stay with me forever.

When I first became a professional in 2007 …

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Stripping Down


I first wrote this blog for 220 Magazine, but thought i would share it with those not fortunate enough to be able to get their hands on copies of this wonderful publication 🙂

So yes…..i wanted to say a few words about ‘stripping down’. Although naked triathlon might appeal to the liberal few who like to let it all hang out, I am not talking birthday suit sport. Instead I am referring to the need to sometimes strip ourselves of the gadgets, gizmos, widgets and paraphernalia that dominate our sport and get back to basics. Sport for sports sake. A return to the ‘raw’ as it were.

One of the reasons I felt I needed to take a break from …

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Raising the Bar: ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’


I was at a work conference in 2002, a few weeks before I ran the London Marathon. The conference conversation was so stimulating that I started chatting to a colleague about running. He looked me up and down, and said ‘I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you will never be a good runner. Your Q angle is too big.” A nice way to urinate on my fire. I still haven’t got a clue what such an angle is, but, regardless, I feel I have since managed to defy his ideas of what was possible for me and my big Q to achieve (as well as perhaps demonstrating his lack thereof of any high ‘I’ related ‘Q’). …

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As the Olympics draws ever closer many professional triathletes have realised their often lifelong dream of getting to the Games; managing to secure a place on their national team and participate in what will be the biggest sporting spectacle the world has ever seen. Their qualification is the result of years of dedication, hard work and perseverance. But for every athlete that has achieved their holy grail there will be others who did not qualified, who have to cope with the intense disappointment, frustration and even anger of having the Olympic ringed rug pulled from under them. Of course, it is not only professional athletes that have to deal with disappointment, especially sessions or races that have, in our minds, …

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