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Monday, September 17, 2007

It's always good to stand on the beach on a Sunday morning, admiring the pier in a yellow hat...

Has anyone seen my shoes?
Unfortunately, people in rubber are easily startled. I think one of them spotted Sir Menzies Campbell coming up behind with a conference agenda, and in the scramble to get away, they all ended up leaping into the sea...

Taking the plunge.
White as a sheet.By the time this one emerged twenty minutes later, all the colour had washed out of his hat.

Well ok, this insane lemming-like behaviour was actually part of the Brighton Triathlon, which took place yesterday, five minutes walk (or a two-minute run in a wetsuit) from my flat. The chap on the left wiped the ocean floor with his rivals in the Olympic distance event for 20 to 29-year-olds. Most of the other white-capped youngsters were still floundering about off the coast when he emerged onto the beach. Mind you, the tide was coming in at the time, so they had further to swim.

As for the yellow-capped people, they were the 30 to 39-year-old men, which is why I was able to mingle with them so successfully, and pass myself off as one of their own.

Bike OutHaving swum 1500m in cold choppy water, it was then just a short sprint across the pebbles to the bike park to slap on a helmet, pick up your trusty steed and head off towards an ambulance in your bare feet with your shoes stuck to the pedals.

If you make it that far, you then have to cycle 40km (yes, that's all) up and down Madeira Drive, trying not to forget how many laps you've done, while people like me try to run across the road in front of you to get to the toilets. Assuming you survive that, then it's just a simple matter of hopping off and embarking on a relaxing 10km run back and forth along the promenade in your soggy underwear.

JubilanceIt's all worth it though. Just look at the expression of unbridled joy on this competitor's face as she crosses the finish line. She'd obviously spotted the free banana being offered to anyone who completed the course.

Anyway, whilst I'm enormously impressed by anyone who can swim a mile, cycle a marathon, and still have enough energy left to run ten kilometres in a headwind, I have to say that each and every one of them, without exception, is completely and utterly INSANE. They could have been sitting at home with their feet up in front of the Grand Prix, not picking seaweed from between their toes whilst trying to mount a racing bike. I was tired just watching them. In fact, having stood on the beach all morning, walked home, written a blog post, and then gone back down there for an hour to cheer on the stragglers, I was just about ready for a full body massage and an early night. I dread to think how the competitors felt.

This bloke was so confused that he crossed the finish line thinking he was still on his bike.

Meanwhile, one of the yellow-capped guys I photographed plunging into the sea at 10:40am was only just jogging up the home straight when I got back down there at ten to two. I can think of better way to spend a Sunday. Most of them involving Yorkshire puddings and gravy.

But I think the reason they all do it was summed up nicely on the back of the t-shirts worn by representatives of Urbanrace, the company who organised the event. As their slogan puts it:

'Swim With The Endorphins'

I do love a good pun. Although personally I get my endorphins from chocolate.