Did Not Finish – DNF book – Available now

DNF – Did Not Finish is available to order now… https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09KTCL3G6

Is is our story of 20 years swimming, biking and running. Every one of our results tells a story, even the races we did not finish.

It is a story about finding the joy in racing whether you come first or last.

It contains stories such as ….

I discovered my local triathlon club, Glasgow Triathlon Club, had a Sunday night swimming session for beginners.

I thought it would be a welcoming environment full of like-minded beginners. It wasn’t. Triathletes lie about their ability and they are really competitive

I discovered this when the coach said: “I’d like you all to swim eight lengths of the pool at 70% race pace. I’ll time you. Who wants to go first?”

No one volunteered to go first.

“Come on! Who’s fastest?”

Everyone looked at each other in the same way a lift of strangers looks at each other after one person has farted. Who is it?

I looked at the man next to me. He was solid muscle. His back had the classic v-profile of an Olympic swimmer. He wore tiny Speedos that were so small and revealing they looked like they’d been tattooed to his crotch. His swim goggles cost more than my last car.

“Hurry up! Someone has to go first!”

The only time I’d been mistaken for a swimmer was when a hairdresser said to me “Are you a swimmer?” I beamed with pride and replied “yes” thinking it was because of my swimmer’s physique – but my pride was quickly punctured when the hairdresser said “I thought so – I examined your hair. It is in terrible condition. It is dry from chlorine.”

I did not even have the right equipment for a swim. My swim shorts were run shorts. There was no point buying one pair for running and one for swimming. It meant my run shorts got a wash. My goggles were whatever I could find in the lost and of found bucket of my local pool. I was not a swimmer.

He looked at me again. It wasn’t that he was in a different league to me. It was that we aren’t even playing the same sport.

He said: “You first, mate”

I replied, “No thanks. You should definitely go first.”

He thought about it and said, “no – I think you are quicker.”

So, I went first. I had a five second head start. On the sixth second, he caught up.

I went as fast as I could but he kept having to stop to wait for me.

After we’d finished eight laps the coach said, “are you all happy with your time?”

The man who couldn’t have been more like a fish even if he’d had gills said, “I could have gone faster but I got held up!” Maybe if he hadn’t lied about his ability he wouldn’t have got held up.

If you are good at something, it’s ok to say you are good at it.

I then looked round and saw everyone else. It was like the scene at the start of Saving Private Ryan. Bodies were strewn in the water. People screaming in agony. One man looked like he’d swum himself into a heart attack.

The coach asked, “Was that 70% effort?” No-one replied. They were all completely f&%ked! At last the man having the heart attack said through wheezy, definitely non-competitive, gasps of death “I think I went 65%!”

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