342

Posted on May 22, 2015. Filed under: ironman, Tom | Tags: , |

This evening one race pack will remain uncollected at Ironman Lanzarote – number 342.  I think about it a lot.

I wrote this a few weeks ago, and I didn’t know what to do with it, so I saved it as a draft.  It feels important to share it unedited today, and to remember Tom this weekend.


This is one of these blogs that I have no idea where it will go.

Because today I shed a tear for a guy I have never met.  Today I shed a tear for a guy that I only know as Tom the @beardytriguy.

You don’t meet people every day who have run marathons, ultras or done Ironman so social media is the perfect way to find people with similar interests, regardless of geography.  A family of like-minded individuals as weird, wonderful and dysfunctional as a real family.  And that’s how I got to know Tom, a big beardy guy training hard for Ironman Lanzarote.  A gentleman. An optimist. A funny guy. A guy dedicated to taking on one of the toughest Ironman.  A guy who I knew would succeed.

But this morning I heard that Tom passed away on Sunday night.  Taken too soon.  Taken so full of potential.  Taken before he had fulfilled his dream.

It left me numb. I didn’t want to run tonight, but I ran.  I kind of knew Tom would be with me as I counted down the miles.  It brought up other stuff.  The last time I ran the London Marathon was on my mind.  We lost Claire that day.  I’m not normally very emotional but I felt a weight on my heart, a lump in my throat, a tear on my cheek. Too young. Too soon. Too vital. I was stunned, I was sad, I was angry.  I had to take a deep breath and let it go.

We can be blasé about what we achieve.  We under-estimate the scale of our achievements.  We forget how far we have come from the sofa.  Endurance events are hard.  Enduring is in the mind but endurance is a harsh challenge on our bodies.  Those of us who do it sometimes forget.  We are pretty fucking special.

Five weeks tomorrow Tom would have shown that spirit and dragged himself across the finish line in Lanzarote.  I have no doubt of that.  I also have no doubt that in the darkest hours of the run in Lanzarote, in the deepest moments of introspection, those that shared Tom’s Ironman journey will feel the warmth of the big guy’s hand on their shoulder guiding them safely home.

I didn’t plan to write this tonight.  It’s only a week until London.  I’ll write that about that on Sunday.

I don’t have anything else today.

Sleep tight Ironman x.


Race strong this weekend Ironmen, Don’t be shit.

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2 Responses to “342”

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I didn’t know this. We followed each other on twitter and swapped words occasionally. So very sorry.

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Sorry to hear this 😦 I have three friends who have died of breast cancer and I look up to them in the sky every run and every event and know I’m privileged to do this, ‘because I can’. Race well x

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