Saturday, September 14, 2013

26th in the world....

I still can't quite believe the last few days.

Our daughter Kate was competing for GB in the F35 Sprint Distance Triathlon World Championships in Hyde Park. Her race went off at 9.30 on Friday morning and you can bet your life that Lesley and I and her brother and his wife and her partner and about four other friends were there to see her off.

You'll have to take my word for it that she's in this picture - but she is. She finished the swim in 15th place. The transitions are not like you see on the TV. Her bike was over 100m from the lake and hidden in about 5000 other bikes.

We shot off to the bridge over the Serpentine to find a good vantage point for the cycling. We were standing amongst parents of all nations, all shouting for their loved ones, or compatriots - or anyone at all. They come past so fast that no sooner have you identified the competitor you're interested in than they're fifty metres away down the road.

She seemed to be cycling on her own all the way and who knows what difference that makes to how fast she could go, but apparently slip-streaming isn't allowed in these age group races because all ages and genders are mixed up and there are safety issues. This makes it impossible to see where in the race she is. You just have to shout like mad and hope you're encouraging sufficiently. With four of us, plus the American guy I was standing next to, we certainly made a lot of noise.

When she gets to the run it's easier to see her coming so we have some good photos. Like this one:

By this time, her brother had put a photo on Facebook and sixteen people had 'liked' it. She looked so strong all the way through the run and it turned out she ran the 5k in under 20 minutes. So that was all good.

And then all that's left is to fight your way through the crowds to the finish area and wait for her to be released from the holding pen, medal round neck.

I have to confess that greeting her there and giving her a hug, brought a huge lump to my throat. I was unprepared for how emotional I would feel at this juncture and I know I wasn't the only one. There seemed to be emotional parents all over the shop.

A quick shower and then off to the Serpentine restaurant for a really very good lunch, with eight of us sitting round a table overlooking the lake and going over the events of the race and watching cyclists and runners going past in the distance.

It's been a bit of a summer for the Nunns, what with son's wedding and now this. No wonder that the Avon Track and Field felt a bit flat last weekend. Lesley and I went off with son and daughter-in-law to a pub in Mayfair, where we spent the rest of the afternoon, drinking rather more than we're used to and generally having a whale of a time. Kate cycled into a taxi and shot off to North London, before having a nap and driving home to fish and chips and some intravenous alcohol.

Somewhere along the line we found out the result: 26th out of 90. 16th Brit to finish and beating several women that beat her in Bristol. So bloody well done, kid. We're so proud of you that I'm getting the throat lump back just typing this.

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