Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Learning from Chrissie Wellington

Part two in the Rowena Meets Chrissie Wellington Adventures. The scene is a nondescript university auditorium. Our protagonist is joined by American Eddie from TriOnline and Canadian Tara, a marathon runner. The three non Brits intrepidly have made their own way to the auditorium to seek lunch and Chrissie...

Chrissie is due to give a presentation and while the lovely folk from Janes Appeal set this up, Chrissie patiently and personally signs people's copies of her new autobiography. In the queue, Tara and I learn that we both tear up watching inspirational sporting videos, such as the trailer for Spirit of the Marathon and Julie Moss finishing Iron Man. (Both of these are linked under HardCore Running stuff on the nav bar to your right. Enrich your lives people.) We also start thinking about what we are going to say to Chrissie, how to tell her to spell our names, how to take photos. I manage to keep a sense of perspective by suggesting to Tara that getting her sneakers autographed is a little weird. I try to take pics while Tara gets her stuff signed, and Tara goes in for a fabulous Chrissie hug. I'd laugh but I am too busy being nervous around the woman who has just told me about her weak glute. Chrissie remembers me (I am astounded) and then writes the above message in my book. She has met a hundred people today but remembers I ran an ultra and that I want to do an ironman before I am 40. She seals the fate by writing it in my book. When Tara and I return to our seats we are a heaving mass of hysteria.

Here's some random stuff I picked up from Chrissie's well delivered and entertaining talk:
1) Chrissie is rubbish with powerpoint. Really. How she survived a career in government with those IT skills is beyond me!
2) Chrissie has The Circle of Life, from Lion King, on her playlist. This only goes to encourage the kind of cheesy music I have on mine!
3) Triathlon is one sport not three. If you want to improve your run, you have to look at what your bike set up is doing.
4) Chrissie is pretty damn smart. Jokes about Defra employees aside, she can deconstruct a cultural construct quicker than you can say "gender perspective".
5) She really wants to pay it forward and give it back. I do hope she returns to development one day, or gets to meet some of the great community focussed NGOs delivering far better impact than DFID's programmes do.
6) I already sleep like an Ironman (1030 to bed, 0630 to rise)
7) She can tear up talking about things that are important to her.
8) She recognises the need for everyone from the media, the athletes and the governing bodies to do more to package ironman better if we want to make it a mainstream sport.
9) You don't need the most expensive or even a great bike to win (but unless you're very talented it does help)
10) Strength work and conditioning can really help boost your results.

They say you should never meet your idols: well I say it depends who your idols are. David Suzuki, Mo Farah and Chrissie Wellington - they have not let me down. Down to earth, personal and inspiring, meeting Chrissie confirms that your idols are more amazing once you've met them.

1 comment:

  1. well that's your next challenge set! Go for it! :-)