As we continue through the car crash that is 2020 I feel it is time to put a bit or optimism back into our thoughts and start thinking about better times ahead.
So I have been looking at the events diary for 2021 and considering all things being equal what a great summer it could be…..
Yes it will look much like the summer we had planned for this year and restrictions permitting we are hoping to attend a few events over the summer.
Quite a few of us have already entered and deferred our entry, and even if restrictions are in place events of this nature took place late on this year in a time trial format – so the signs are good for this one.
Swim, run, swim run or tri, adults and kids – this weekend truly is a festival of outdoor sport with something for everyone. Taking place over the weekend of 18th – 20th June with camping available.
See what we are up to on our Facebook events page:
We will be camping, tents, caravans, motorhomes at the Bickerton Poacher Pub – much cheaper than being onsite and with the benefit of a pub! Book yourselves on ASAP as it was quite full when we were last there.
Tuesday 17th March was the day we had to do what a few short months ago would have seemed unthinkable, yes that was the day we had to close for an unspecified period.
A sad day but one that in our heart of hearts we knew was inevitable and had to be done and in some ways, it is these things that make us stronger and bring us together. We are seeing this in all walks of life and not least within the club.
We are working hard behind the scenes to ensure that we keep up the ‘Parogon Spirit’ and over the last 4 weeks what great things have happened all ready.
But before I go on we need a huge shout out and show of appreciation for all of our members working in the healthcare sector, I will try and name check as many as I can think of and apologies if I miss any:
Chris Bromley, Fiona Paton, Christina Cartwright, Karen Luscombe, Mark Gunning, Harry Belfield, Helen Booth, Claire Banks. Before we finished Charles Pantin was talking about being called back and if he has, excellent work Charles.
Again sorry if I have missed you & we can only imagine what it is like in your place of work right now – keep going and we are all thinking of you and are ready to show you our full appreciation when we get out of this.
So what has been happening?
Dry Land Workout
Three times a week we are hosting a dry land workout using the video conference app Zoom, we are getting between 10 and 15 people attending each session which is fantastic.
The beauty of this is that you can do as much or as little as you like, keep your camera on or turn it off – its up to you. It is keeping us connected, keeping us working and keeping the humour going. Sessions are Saturdays 10am and Tuesdays & Thursdays at 7pm.
Simply keep an eye on the Facebook group, Parogon Covid Support (request to join) or your email for joining details each session. We do strength work, cardio, some yoga style stretching and everyone’s favourite, Sophie’s dance routine to Pump it Up!!!!
We are now into the final throws of our second competition for costume designs and I will be going live on Facebook tomorrow, Wednesday, at 6.30pm to announce the results of the club vote – it is close and every vote counts, but please only vote once!!
Prior to that we had the drawing competition where we asked our kids young and old to give us the best drawing they could of them swimming. What fantastic entries we had and it was to hard to decide so in the end we declared them all winners! Each entrant will get an Easter egg and something from our swimming goodie bag when we re open. Here is a reminder of the entries for you all:
And if you must here is my live feed to announce the results……
Castle Triathlon Virtual Duathlon
We also had a few members, officially and unofficially take part in the Castle Triathlon Easter weekend virtual duathlon. An event where you had to run on Friday, indoor cycle on Saturday and run on Sunday – distances were dependent on age or category.
Representing the club we had Anne Turner and family Cartwright – Marg Taylor also did the distances but did not enter. Well done to all and we are considering doing something similar for the club over May weekend – watch this space:
What Else have we learnt?
Firstly we have learnt that Marg has some hidden talents and is a rather good musician, we have been serenaded by a saxophone at the end of one of our sessions and she has also posted a fantastic video to cheer us all up – & it did:
We have also learnt that both Ed and Greg are slightly going mad in isolation with their inventions!!! But full respect to them for giving it a go. Greg decided to try and build his own rollers to ride is bike on, with some success and Ed has built his own dry-land swim machine in the back garden, does if he still get lane rage!!!
Jamie has been hitting the national press with a discovery in his back garden, although Lynds is convinced he brought it home from uni and planted it!!! Well only Jamie will know!!!
After that he made it rely big and got in the Sentinel!!!
The lifeguards were due to have taken and hopefully passed their qualification by now by unfortunately that has also had to be stopped. But that does not mean we are not still training, 5 of us undertook some online training last week and there is more to come. So we will be more than ready once the pool reopnes.
We are trying to keep the social gong, keep us communicating and keep ourselves motivated. Join in the chat be great to hear from you – so far it is the regular few. It is a closed group so only members can see what is posted.
We have our daily challenge – todays is easy, rest day – set by members nominated by members. We are sharing our thoughts, fears, workouts and tips on staying sane through all of this – join in!!
We have a little competition running for the kiddies – swim related prizes are to be awarded upon our reopening.
We need your best drawing of you at the pool, playing, in lesson, on the side it is up to you – upload them to the Facebook group or email them to me here – closing date is Tuesday and I will ‘go live’ to announce the winners on Wednesday. Time TBC.
Next weeks competition will be open to all and should be hilarious – watch this space!!!!
Virtual Dry Land Group Workout
On Saturday we are going to attempt a video conference dry land workout at 10am. I will email and post on FB the link you need to click to join – it is up to you if you turn your webcam on or not!!! Don’t be shy and join in.
The junior polo section is going from strength to strength with both team and personal success.
We played in a tournament the other weekend. We accommodated a few Wellington squad players for the day (they didn’t have a coach) and played under the guise of Piranhas. We won three out of three games, our very own Max and Oli scoring 6 goals each. In truth our starting line up was far too strong for the other teams, so I had to mix it up a little to make the games more competitive.
The semi finals and final are on the 24th November.
Eds Dream Fulfilled – racing for GBR at the ETU Long (Ironman) Distance European Championship in Almere, Holland 14/09/19. Here it is in his own words……
Beside my desk in my home office I have a Bucket List; it
has 19 items on it, the 11th was signed off on the 14th
of September at Challenge Almere when I raced for GB over my preferred
triathlon distance. It has only taken me until I am 55. I have always been
envious of friends who have competed for GB and England at sport, albeit mostly
in their prime across triathlon, rugby, lacrosse and water polo to name a few.
There is no specific qualification race for half or full
ironman, instead it is based on race performance where over 500 competitors
compete and you must finish within 20% of the winner of your age group to be
considered at European level; for World champs it is within 15%. Then a roll
down applies. If I had known this earlier I suspect I would have qualified a
few years ago as I usually finish well inside the top 15/20% at Ironman branded
races. And I only found out by chance through word of mouth.
I applied in late spring, and therefore did not have much
time to plan for the race, as I already had Ironman Lanzarote and Challenge
Roth (both subject of previous posts) booked for late May and mid-July. This is
the first time I have competed in 3 long distance races in one summer and it
had an impact on my Almere performance as 7/8 weeks to recover is not ideal. I
discovered my selection at the beginning of July whilst stretching after a run,
was elated, and told my family coincidentally at a birthday dinner for my
eldest son that evening. My whole family and their partners and friends then
decided they were coming to watch me race.
My entourage totalled 14 and included my parents who are in
their mid to late 70s. This created added pressure but also a wonderful
and moving experience as I had a small
supporters club out on the 6-lap run shouting and screaming at me holding
various banners – including my target time, oh dear.
As to the race it is a freshwater lake swim of 3.8km
consisting two laps, a two lap very flat 180km bike with a total of 200m of
climbing – cycling below sea level – and a 6 lap run around the lake for the
As for the race I felt good going into it, I swam well
posting 1:16 which is a fast time for me in fresh water as it’s my weakest
discipline, jumped on the bike feeling in good shape having got through
transition in good time. Rode well for the first 100km averaging 33.3kph,
however my targeted power of 200-210 watts was way off at more like 185/190,
and I felt under-powered. The next 80km saw me struggle and I came in at 5
hours 34 mins. With my power averaging 181w which was 10/15% off my expected
power level. This reflected how I felt as I started the run I started to
develop major gastric issues, or in English I felt sick. I ran the first 12km
in 60 minutes then proceeded to fall apart. This is the nature of endurance
racing, and having raced well at both Lanzarote and Roth my run became one of
survival. I was resolute that I would finish regardless which I did thanks to
the support of GB team mates and my family. I was sick several times, developed
a strategy of run walk and came in with one of my slowest run times of 4 hours
There was no way I was not going to finish.
I came in at 11:34:47 putting me 16th out of 25
country reps in my age group, and to my huge surprise 4th of 7
British men. My target had been 10:30-10:45 which for the course I am capable
I am very disappointed with my performance, but my family
made feel like a superstar both during and after the race. I think I over raced
and had not cleared the effects of Roth in time for Almere. So what’s
next….first up is Ironman Nice next July, then there are the ITU World
Championships next September in Almere! I am inside the qualification
criteria…so perhaps I’ll get another go at it. So for now, and until the GB
selection is made in late January 2020 I am not booking any other races.
Almere was a bucket list race also as it is the second
oldest Long Distance race after Kona/Hawaii and next year will be its 40th
And it seems my parents have the bug and are coming to watch
me race Ironman Nice next Summer….did I mention that Almere was my 10th
Ironman race in 5 years.
Most people choose to do something relatively chilled and laid back for their birthday. So, with that in mind I decided – almost 8 months ago – that a 5km open water race would be fun…
By far the hardest swim I’ve done so far and the closest I’ve come to bailing on a swim, ever. A huge in-water start of c. 340 swimmers (mix of 5km and 2.5km together), a lot of punching and kicking and not without what felt like a couple of drowning attempts from behind, I lost the lead group for the 5km and endedup in a no mans land with no one around me so it was a long, solo effort. I started cramping up (feet and right quad) at about 3.5km and was just willing the finish line to arrive for the last mile. I was absolutely shattered by the end.
It was all worth it and I’m sure I’ll do again at some point. I finished 12th overall (of 153 5km swimmers), 2nd in age group overall, and 1st female in age group.
Two years ago I went to race at Challenge Roth in Germany
but had a torn achilles and couldn’t start the run – however I did race the
swim and bike and determined I would
return. So two years on and I am not only in good shape, with a big block of
training behind me, I am buoyed by being selected to represent GB at the Iron
distance European ETU championships in Almere in September. In fact I heard on
the Tuesday before I raced Roth.
The words were published just after the race and sum up the
nature of Roth splendidly.
Thank you Triathlete Magazine and Brad Culp
for this great article:
“The greatest triathlon in the world took place on Sunday. It might not be
the most significant triathlon in the world, and it never will be. Kona will
always wear that crown, but Roth has some things that Kona doesn´t. There´s an
atmosphere and energy surrounding the entire course that you won´t find
anywhere else. The support from the community is almost bizarre. The frenzy
around the finish is livelier, although much of that has to do with the fact
there´s better beer and food, and typically less heat exhaustion…”
If you’re reading this, there’s a 90 percent chance that
you’ll never qualify for Kona. But you can go race Roth, and you should. Aside
from the swim taking place in a shipping canal that I wouldn’t swim in more
than once per year, Roth is nearly perfect. The professional field this year
wasn’t quite as strong as in years past, with the German trio of Frodeno,
Lange, and Kienle taking care of their Kona qualification last weekend and
Frankfurt, and Daniela Ryf waltzing to a win at Ironman Austria this weekend.”
The local community and German people fully embrace the
race, some 250,000 come to watch and the finishing stands accommodate 10,000.
And the race experience as a competitor is unreal – with crowds partying and
shouting at you as you swim, bike and run. In fact on the bike up a hill called
Solarberg the crowd is reminiscent of the Tour de France with raucous crowds
6/7 deep, and a continuous stream of bikes unable to pass each other as they
follow a narrow human corridor. It is an
experience like no other and made me very emotional even after 85 and 170km
cycling across the two laps.
Briefly the swim is in a major German shipping canal – think
Trent-Mersey canal and quadruple the size,
it is very green and full of who knows what – anyway it affected my
sinuses almost immediately. The bike is a rolling 1500m of ascent across the
180km, and the run is mainly flat until the last 6 km when it becomes very
challenging / hilly. My calves screamed a great deal in the run, thanks to
these hills. The finish in the stadium was an amazing experience and one which
I embraced, taking my time rather than dashing for the line.
My time was 11 hours 17 minutes placing me in the top 20% of
my Age Group and broke down as:
Swim (3.8km) 1:20:26
Bike (180km) 5:42:22
Run (42.2km) 4:05:45
Overall given the climbs this is my best performance in my 9th
ironman, I have gone faster but only just on a much flatter course in Barcelona
with a faster sea swim. That said lots to work on as I felt quite sick for part
of the bike and all of the run (reviewing my nutrition strategy for my next
If you do one Iron distance race, do this one – you will not
regret the experience, and the fantastic German spectators and atmosphere. And the Isotonic free alcohol frei beer at
the end is a must.
Saturday evening saw 6 members, past and present take to the river Thames to swim the 1500m from the rowing club to the Angle on the Bridge pub – the promise of a beer and a medal that would open it surly spurned us on!!
The water was surprisingly clear and warm as the ‘performance’ wave containing Dave, Ian, Andy and Helen Reader slid in for their 6.50 start. The first 400m upstream were as tough as we anticipated but as we got to the turn for the downstream leg it became clear that Ian, Dave & Helen were well up the field.
Speaking of Field – despite struggling with his breathing, chatting to the rescue canoeist, apparently she was attractive – he gamely battled on to breaststroke the whole course. A fantastic effort when many would have chucked in the towel. Despite this constant ribbing ensued for the rest of the evening!!!
Dave, Helen & Ian all finished within the 22 minute bracket with Dave 13th, Helen 14th and Ian 17th – little did we know how well we had done until later in the evening.
Next up it was our Aussie ringer Sarah in the ladies wave and she also put in a sterling effort to finish in 26:39 & 43rd female overall.
‘Reeeeeeaaaader’ was shouted in much to the amusement of the amassed crowds and it was he bare shoulders that we spotted as he powered down the home straight, the though of a beer pushing him on! 26:04 for a goalkeeper – good work chap….
Completing the line up was Mark and Christina, Mark put in a 27:04 to be in 100 / 748 over all and 21st in the open category. Christina was positively beaming when she exited the water and exclaimed I loved that – and so she should 250th overall / 748 and a strong time of 32:15
But the best was yet to come!!!! Ian was hanging round the prize giving and the announcement for the best club was due, combined time of the top four swimmers from the same club. Since the events inception in 2014 Reading and taken home the trophy – put not this year its going North – yes PAROGON are champions!!!
We will be back to defend our title and we can not leave without a shout out to our supporters on the day – Mr President, Jill, Nicky and the amassed Cartwright kids shouting us all in……
The new club causal wear is in and is looking great…. If having now seen it you want some, let me know and we can raise another order. Its all about getting the club seen and known at these events.
So we are now into the summer season and we have a few events coming up:
Killer Mile Mow Cop – Thursday 9th May
So far we have 6 club members running this famous race, rated one of the toughest in the world! But don’t let that put you off, last year there were walkers, runners and young, old and even a storm trooper. It’s a great evening with the option of a cheeky pint on the way home!
Another great local event taking place at the county showground, we had one team in last year. Teams of 4 each running 2 miles each. So far I have enough people entering to do two teams, but can you please confirm if you are wanting to run by the end of Tuesday 7th May so we can get the entries in and sort payment. I recon we can get 4!!!
Cholmondeley Castle – Swim, Run or Tri – 21st to 23rd June
The big event of the summer, choose your discipline, enter and enjoy. Be it a swim, a run or a triathlon. Again please let me know if you have entered so we know who to expect, who to shout for and when to be there to ensure full support is given. Adults and kids! The kids events are particularity good with Castle Traithlon as they do a proper in water mass start giving the kids a true experience.
Camping, motor homes and caravans book onto the Bickerton Poacher Pub site – we will be there Friday evening through to Sunday evening (I am awaiting conformation on if we need to pay for Sunday night)
This event is now full and operating a waiting list, but we have a few coming down to support and enjoy the social. Why not jump on the bandwagon!!
With all please let us know what you plans are!!!!
Looking to the future we have been made aware of an open water swimming festival in Majorca that takes place over the May half term each year. Warm, clear sea swimming with distances to suit all up to a 10K!!!
At this stage we are looking for expressions of interest and possible numbers. If it is viable, we will then explore accommodation and flight options as I am sure we could get some good block booking deals.
Again please advise with the number of adults / children who would be going. We would make this a full family event!