People like these are my heroes.
Meet Tom Rylance, age 76…
…and his rival Jim McKellar aged 77
I caught up with these guys last week on a sports channel showing highlights of this year`s Windsor Triathlon.
There were two distances in this triathlon: Sprint with its 750 swim, 20 k bike ride and 5km run and Olympic with its 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike ride and 10 km run. Both gentlemen competed in the Olympic event. Of course.
Isn`t triathlon just lovely to watch on TV? And Windsor Tri looked great. Shoals of swimmers took to the River Thames. Soon it was a heaving mass of angled arms and thrashing legs. For the most part, the TV crew followed the elite athletes.
As they came from the water and worked their way through transition one area, it was thrilling to see them make the necessary adjustments as efficiently as possible. Caps and goggles off, helmet on, bike unclipped and soon, they`re running barefoot with their bikes to the Stage two start, before wedging their feet into their runners which have already been hooked on to the bike`s pedals.
And then they`re off…
The elite look sleek in their tri gear. All lean and tanned, they glide along with apparent ease.
But it`s the real people I am looking out for. The less sleek, the more breathless, the slow ones dragging up the rear. People like me. People I won`t even show pics of here as I was too embarrassed to reveal my own finish line pic just a few months ago. Glasshouses and stones and all that.
The TV crew doesn`t disappoint, though. It even interviews a couple of them, all smiling and joking but hoping too to score their own personal victories on the day.
And then we see some real winners: Tom and Jim.
The camera crew catches up with them in the running section of the tri. The Windsor running section is tough as it involves looping around the same section three times and that included a hill. We catch up with Jim on one of those hills and he stops for a brief chat before giving the camera crew the thumbs up and a huge grin. He is a delightful guy and plainly enjoying himself.
I love when I see guys like Jim and Tom still taking part in these mass sporting events. I am frequently overtaken by many men like them, after all! It`s a huge thumbs up for the health benefits of exercise. And for learning, and exercise being for life.
In a world that encourages a highly competitive environment in sport and in lauding the handful who can push the boundaries in what the human body can achieve, the rest of the human race are consigned to being armchair sports participants. And the armchair is literally killing them.
Jim and Tom took to the podium together at the end of their epic tri. Tom had beaten Jim into second place. But, with all the interest shown in the running and triathlons in the past few years, I`ll bet there will be more competition in these categories in years to come.
And where were the women? Where indeed. It something I have noticed when out running. The older men are there and probably have had a lifetime of sport and exercise behind them. The older women are very rare birds indeed. That`s changing slowly though it would suit me very well to have just one or two people competing in my age category in years to come!
I am looking forward to taking my place on the podium one day. I don`t even need to win, sure, third out of three would be grand. But I`d love to keep fit enough and well enough to participate in races.
And in this, I am inspired by my heroes who keep on keeping on.
- Swim scene http://www.triathlonworld.gr
- Bike scene:http://emilyhmcloughlin.files.wordpress.com
- James McKellar:https://www.facebook.com/humanraceevents
- Tom Rylance:http://berkshiretrisquad.com/2013/06/21/windsor-results-and-gallery/
You can read Emily McLouglin`s blog post on her Windsor Triathlon here
And James McKellar can be found here.