WEEK­END WAR­RIOR

Mar­tyn cel­e­brates his 100th col­umn for 220 by re­port­ing on yet an­other failed at­tempt for sport­ing glory

220 Triathlon Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Brunty cel­e­brates his 100th 220 col­umn

Dear long-suf­fer­ing reader, it is my solemn duty to tell you that to­gether we have reached a ma­jor en­durance mile­stone – be­cause this is my 100th col­umn in 220.

Achieve­ment of this as­ton­ish­ing feat of dura­bil­ity by ev­ery­one who has read my wit­ter­ings over the years, may not be quite up there with a fin­ish­ing an Iron­man or off-brand equiv­a­lent, but you prob­a­bly still de­serve some sort of medal – or in the proper tra­di­tion of tri, a plas­tic bag full of leaflets, a bottle of wa­ter and a ba­nana.

Be­ing in the pub­lic eye has ob­vi­ously had a dra­matic im­pact on my ath­letic per­for­mances be­cause in the years since I started this col­umn I’ve done one world cham­pi­onship, two Euro­pean fi­nals, six Iron­mans, 28 half-Iron­mans, 33 Olympicdis­tance races, two sprint tri’s and won the grand to­tal of TWO whole medals – one for com­ing sec­ond in my age-group at a new mid­dledis­tance race which hadn’t caught on yet, and one for a win at a stan­dard-dis­tance race when there was lit­er­ally no one else born in the same decade as me.

So what have I learned? Well if my re­cent ap­pear­ance on the world stage was any­thing to go by, ab­so­lutely noth­ing. Me and world stages have clashed be­fore, and it’s never gone well. Read­ers may re­mem­ber my mem­o­rable show­ing at the World Tri Cham­pi­onships in Ne­vada when the only peo­ple I fin­ished ahead of were an Aus­tralian who was so heavy he could have smoth­ered a buf­falo and a Cana­dian who did the run wear­ing Speedos and ran the whole 30km right be­hind me.

But be­ing hor­ri­bly ex­posed as a gam­mon-faced chancer among proper ath­letes didn’t put me off hav­ing an­other crack at world dom­i­nance which is why, a few weeks ago, I was lined up on the shores of Hun­gary’s Lake Bala­ton, along­side 250 of the best open­wa­ter swim­mers on the planet, for the World Mas­ters Swim­ming Champs. I cut a sin­gu­lar fig­ure in this lake­side crowd, look­ing like some­thing that was hid­ing from the Ghost­busters, but im­bued with nat­u­ral triathlon con­fi­dence I just dis­re­garded this draw­back and thought ‘3,000m swim? Is that all? Let’s bung a bike and run on the end and see how you get on!’

Any pre-race nerves I had from be­ing in a world fi­nal were ini­tially quelled by spend­ing an en­ter­tain­ing 20 min­utes watch­ing a fat Ar­gen­tinian bloke try­ing to get into a very tight race­suit only to rip it straight up the arse. But the nerves re­turned with a vengeance when we stood on the start pon­toon to dive in, be­cause the wa­ter was pound­ing us like a right hook from Ben Stokes. High winds had turned the lake into a boil­ing mass of tsunamis and I was feeling sud­denly un­der­equipped with no wet­suit buoy­ancy to make up for my pa­thetic leg kick.

What fol­lowed was eas­ily the hard­est swim I have ever done in my life. Apart from be­ing re­peat­edly smacked in the face by waves, I got lost twice due to not be­ing able to see the buoys over the swell, and pushed off course by the cur­rent so of­ten I al­most reached Bul­garia.

If triathlon has given me one thing, though, it’s the per­sis­tence of a skid­mark, and I flopped and lol­loped my way through the mael­strom to­wards the fin­ish, fi­nally lurch­ing un­der the boom in 67th place. Clearly I hadn’t been alone in find­ing it a tax­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and as well as the swim­mers still out there toil­ing or of­fi­cially recorded as lost-at-sea, the change tent re­sem­bled a clown abat­toir with bro­ken swim­mers ly­ing about swear­ing in a rich va­ri­ety of lan­guages. For my part, I was too busy won­der­ing where my bike was be­fore I came to my senses.

So there we are, an­other race and an­other no-medal. But, as we all know, it isn’t the win­ning that counts, or even the tak­ing part, it’s mak­ing sure you emerge from the race with pho­tos that don’t make you look like a kneecap filled with beans. Thanks for stay­ing with me over the past 100 col­umns, and next month for my 101st I’ll be putting all the things I dis­like most into My Triathlon Room 101 – start­ing with swim races.

“If tri has given me one thing, it’s the per­sis­tence of a skid­mark”

MAR­TYN BRUNT

Mar­tyn is tri’s fore­most av­er­age ath­lete and is living proof that hours of train­ing and end­less new kit are no sub­sti­tute for abil­ity.

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