Sunday, May 28, 2006

Tiree's Endurance Sportsmen

At long last the sun has returned!
I managed out for some much-desired training in the morning and in the early evening. I have to be honest and say I felt less than sharp today (something to do with a late night a bottle of white wine) and the wind out of the west is still quite strong when you're trying to run in to it.
Maybe I shouldn't have waited until my 50th year to begin a running career!
I wish I could be more like one or two Tiree heroes of mine. If you were a regular reader of IOTON you will recall that quite a few times I featured the accomplishments of road cyclist Duncan Urquhart on the site.
One hero of Duncan's stature would surely be enough for such a small island as Tiree. It's remarkable actually that so many Tirisdeach and those of Tiree descent excel in what can only be called endurance sports.
Take Leven Brown for instance (pictured above). Leven is a really nice, unassuming and quiet kind of a guy, extremely polite. When you are introduced to Leven your first impression is that this man - like most of us - lives a normal, unexciting and even mundane existence.
Wrong.
Not so long ago Leven rowed single-handed across the Atlantic in his boat Atlantic Wholff taking a route similar to that taken by Columbus to the new world on his third voyage in 1498 Leven left from Puerta Sherry Marina, Cadiz in Spain on 14th August 2005 and arrived at Scarborough harbour in Trinidad on the 28th January 2006 after a journey dogged by running repairs, a collision with a trawler and a three-day lightning storm in which he thought he might lose his life.
I bumped in to Leven recently in the Scarinish Co-of where he told me that his next adventure will be to wind surf - I think he said - across the Pacific in a specially built wind-surfing boat.
There's a rather fascinating website - www.columbusrun.com - where you can learn all about the journey and read Leven's email dispatches from the Wholff while he was actually engaged in his adventure.
If you are at all interested in people who live life to its fullest then I highly recommend you check out the site.
Tiree Endurance Sportsman #2 is Will Wright. Will is a mate of mine, a triathlete, physical fitness liaison to the school, wind surfer and all-round good guy. He's been taking part in a mountain bike competition known as The Scottish Cross Country Series 2006 (or SXC). So far three events have taken place in the Sport M series: at Laggan, Fort William and recently in the Sidlaws at Dundee. Will came 2nd at Laggan, 5th at Fort William and - on the 21st May - he won the event in Dundee. There are another four events this year in the Sport M series and we all send our congratulations to Will and best wishes for continued success.
Tiree Endurance Sportsman #3 - and this one is hot off the press. Okay, J. Scott Cameron doesn't actually live on Tiree - in fact, he lives in Guelph, Ontario. But his roots and his heart reside on Tiree so it is with great pride that I tell you that today Scott ran the ING Ottawa Marathon and finished 136th in the category Men 45 - 49. If you know anything about marathon running then you'll know that any non-professional who posts a time under four hours can be justly proud of their achievement. Scott finished in 3:59:31!
I see from the race stats that Scott got to the 10km point in 50 minutes. That's incredible. As you know I'm training for the 1st Tiree 10k on the 10th June and I think if I post a time 20 minutes later than Scott's I'll be doing well.
I relate these three stories in no particular order. They are all people I look up to and I think we can be justly proud of them.

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