The ‘iron man’; a gruelling, excruciating , agonising triathlon, evidently a hobby for fit people. Why on earth would anyone want to do it? I mean, do people really do this for fun? With my journalistic hat on I decided to investigate this matter further and lo and behold our very own 28 year old curate Graham has actually conquered the iron man. Now Graham seems to be relatively normal; quietly spoken, unassuming, a friendly chap you could comfortably chat with in the pub but the iron man? Why? I decided to ask him.
Graham “It is the amazing sense of achievement that does it for me. Really pushing my body to the limit. I have done a few triathlons before but nothing like the iron man. It is completely bonkers but amazing!”
Nikki “So remind me, what distances did you do?”
Nikki “Swimming in a pool? Followed by nice leisurely bike ride? I guess you could walk the marathon? No?” (Graham shaking head)
Graham “No, this is a serious challenge. The triathlon took place in Bolton so we started with the swim in the lake at Pennington Flash Country park. The bike ride was a bit hilly with 2183m climbing and the marathon was not exactly level ground. The rules say you have to complete the triathlon within 17 hours and you are not allowed to have a break between each event so no one can afford to hang around.”
Nikki “I guess you had to train quite hard then?”
Graham “Well you have to be fit. For the few months before the triathlon I had been doing long cycles from Camberley to Oxford and Southampton, swimming in Mychett Lake early on Thursday mornings and running to the ‘Look Out’ and back to Barossa.”
Graham “Well for a start I had told so many people I was doing this I didn’t want to have to tell them I hadn’t finished it and I also knew if I didn’t finish I would keep entering until I did! Giving up was not an option! I kept thinking that the pain I was putting myself through was nothing compared to the pain Jesus went through on the cross for me. I could have stopped at any time. So could Jesus; he could have got off the cross any time he wanted but he chose not to because of his love for us.”
Nikki “Gosh we often forget that Jesus did actually have a choice. So, would you do it again?”
Graham (laughs) “Well I am not planning anything at the moment and I am still recovering from the last one!! Perhaps I could be tempted to do a flatter course as Bolton is very hilly, then I could get a better time.”
Graham “12 hours 48 minutes.”
Nikki “I am no expert but that sounds pretty good”
Graham “It is not bad! It was a real high for me when I realised I was going to complete the marathon in under 4 hours!”
Nikki “Graham, I think you used the word “bonkers” earlier and I have to say that word keeps coming back to me but you have my full admiration! Thank you so much for talking to us about this amazing achievement of yours.”
So, bonkers or blooming marvellous? Possibly a bit of both but certainly something you can be proud of. If you would like to find out more about iron man you can check out their website www.ironmanuk.com Well after that inspirational interview I am off for a run now. What’s that? Cup of tea and mars bar? Oh ok then, if you insist. Ill take that run tomorrow.
Graham helps run the Alpha Course at St Paul’s. This is where anyone who has questions about faith can come along. Camberley Alpha course begins 21st September at the RSVP and continues for the following 10 weeks. Each week starts at 7:20pm with drinks, followed by a meal at 7:30, a talk and then group discussion ending at 9:30pm. You are invited to come along, alone or with friends. For more information contact Graham Shaw: firstname.lastname@example.org