Exposed Vs TCHC
January’s over and, sadly for some, so is the well-intended workout plan. But, here at Exposed, there are those among us who powered through the pain and cravings of January and who now stand proudly in front of the mirror saying: “Check out the guns.”
So, a good hearty triathlon, on a bright almost – February afternoon, should be a breeze… right?
It’s the end of the week, the weather’s playing nice, and we’re limbering up at Goodwin’s Sport Centre against The Children’s Hospital Charity for this month’s Vs. The challenge is thus: to swim 15 lengths, cycle 5K and then run 5K. Two teams of three, may the best team win.
On Team Exposed we have Tom (long-time competitive swimmer, long-time pal of Exposed), Kris (fairly new to the biking game, but soon-to-be scaling the entire British coastline by both bike and foot – more on that later), and Phil – our gallant boss who’s tackling the difficult third and final running sector.
Team TCHC consists of Josh (also a competitive swimmer), Matt (Sheffrec CC member and self-confessed ‘Speed Freak’ who’s been cycling for over five years), and the lovely Cat – regular Sheffield half-marathon participant and our only female competitor. A motley crew and no mistake.
Josh of TCHC is ten years younger than our man, which on paper makes him favourite for this. That said, he’s also quick to inform Tom that he “swam 18 lengths yesterday – but had to stop 5 times.”
Cue stretching limbs and poolside banter – plus, at the request of Tom (and to the dismay of Josh), ‘a quick’ two-length warm-up. Both pierce the water with dives that Tom Daley would be envious of – and it’s clear that these guys are at one with the water. The kindly lifeguard offers to be our start-up guy/timer/impartial judge and, without further ado – WE’RE OFF!
Josh and Tom spend the first couple of lengths entirely neck and neck. They swim with almost perfect synchronicity, which jolts the competitive energy up to full pelt. However, at the third length, Tom ups his game and streaks out in front. Josh pushes on but doesn’t quite catch up, allowing Tom to not only hold his lead, but to surge forward and widen the distance between them. Eight or so lengths in and the fellas are visibly tiring. Arms seem to be getting heavier, evidenced by the increasingly loud splashes as they hit the water. At this point, Josh changes tactics. He flips onto his back and proceeds to backstroke it for the remainder of the race. Both contenders adopt a more leisurely pace (Tom because of his now two and some length lead, Josh because he’s knackered) – and it’s Exposed FTW. Tom finishes his 15 lengths in a very cool 6 Minutes 51 seconds – cue a frantic phone call to our cycle correspondent, screaming to send Team E’s Kris on his merry way in Endcliffe Park. 1 minute and 10 seconds after that, Josh surfs across the finish line – sending Matt peddling…
By the time we arrive at the park, our cyclists are already done and dusted. In a shock twist, it was Team TCHC’s Matt who was first to finish, but there’s some debate over exactly how this happened. Sure, Matt’s more than qualified to take the crown, but then so’s Kris- and he did have a hefty head start. That’s when the map talk begins. It seems there was a lot of confusion over where a certain turning point was, and it’s possible (nay, probable) that Matt could have turned a lot sooner than Kris. Controversial.
Meanwhile, Team E’s Phil and Team TCHC’s Cat are hard at work on their 5K run. We watch from afar as their dot-sized frames scale the park – before we ourselves ran – for cover – as the heavens opened.
Emotions are peaking as our two runners reach their last laps. They both disappear from sight, and we wait with baited breath to find out who’ll appear first. Cheers erupt just moments later when Cat comes into view, jogging her way to a casual victory and taking the triathlon crown!
A few minutes after Cat, Phil spurts across the finish line – shattered, rain-soaked, but still smiling – which not only marks the end of the run, but also the day’s triathlon.
Another loss for Exposed? But… it was going so well…
Following the event, and in the spirit of true sportsmanship, Matt admits he may have turned earlier than he should have – while Kris thinks he might have actually cycled further than he needed to. The agreed solution? A summer rematch – and a plain old-but-fair draw to conclude for now.
Box out – TCHC
The Children’s Hospital Charity works all year round on various events in order to raise much-needed funds for Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital. With the help of long-time patrons such as Jessica Ennis, Michael Palin and Michael Vaughan, TCHC’s current Make It Better appeal aims to raise a colossal £20 million over 3 years as part of The Children’s Hospital’s £40 million renovation. This will allow the hospital to become a world class facility – set to benefit young people throughout the UK for generations to come. Head to www.tchc.org.uk for more.
Box out – King Kris
Team E’s Kris King is about to partake in a mammoth charity event in which he’ll both bike and run the entire British coast-line to raise awareness of Huntington’s disease. The event is set for May and will take 34 days to complete – with no rest days. You can find out more info via www.facebook.com/CoastHuntingForACureForHd) and @coasthunting.
Words: Nicola Mellor. Pics: Marc Barker.