Wednesday, October 22, 2008


A proper post is in order to thank our Training Day volunteers and guests.

First off, thanks to Rachel O, Jenn H, Tyler B, Angela Q, and Dorelle H for volunteering their time to help with the registration and organization. Thanks also to Rich for the LCD projector, and Steve Q for taking pictures.

A huge THANKS to Simon and Luke for volunteering their time. I'm not sure if I made it clear on Sunday, but it was Simon who e-mailed with the offer to come to the training day, and then arranged to have Luke come too. If you follow Simon's blog, you'll know that he's given a lot of his time to visit schools, clubs and groups lately. He manages to fit these visits in between his sponsor commitments and training, although he's under no obligation to do so. He's a remarkable role model for young athletes, and an incredible ambassador for the sport. For those who weren't in attendance, Luke and Simon trained with the athletes for the AM swim workout, followed by a 75 minute Q&A session with Simon and 75 minutes of autographs (until every last person had met Simon and got an autograph). At the end of his talk, Simon brought out his medals (one from each pocket) and handed them to the crowd, trusting that they would come back to him at the autograph table (which of course, they did). Luke was peppered with questions about his training and racing over the lunch hour by the juniors. After lunch, we had a run session, consisting of a large six station circuit, and Simon and Luke made sure they trained (or played) with each group. They were so busy that neither one took a break for lunch.

During Simon's talk, I couldn't help but remember the people who posted comments on the CBC and Globe & Mail websites during the Olympics, knocking our athletes and questioning the value of the limited support that they receive; the 'nattering classes' as Bruce Arthur of the National Post called them. I wondered what they were up to while 150+ people enjoyed the opportunity to meet Simon and Luke, hold Olympic medals in their hands, and get inspired to live a healthy lifestyle and test their own limits.

In the days since the Training Day, I've run into a few parents and athletes around campus, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. I've also received some great e-mails:

Thank - you so much for a terrific day yesterday. My kids and the rest of the Marlin kids had a terrific day training and learning with our Ontario Triathlon stars.
A Marlin parent asked me today how Simon's presentation was and the best way I could describe it was that there was something for everyone to take away or learn from it. Simon did a fabulous job of being technical enough to keep the interest of the serious competitors and keep it simple enough to hold the attention of the younger athletes. Just awesome.

Luke - Thanks for 'training' with Simon and our kids - it will be a day they remember forever.

I just wanted to say that it was great to listen to Simon's talk. The pool staff that were able to make it thought it was amazing

Thank you for setting up the Simon Whitfield training day -- the kids (and I admit it - parents too) were completely blown away.

Thanks for all your work in setting today up with Simon. My kids enjoyed themselves alot. Hard to beat having a two time Olympic medalist training along with you.

Once again, thank-you to our volunteers and coaches, and most importantly, Simon and Luke for their time and effort. Everyone thought it was an amazing experience which will not be forgotten.

[EDIT: I forgot to thank Stefan Timms for his time and effort too. Coach Timms is a former World Cup athlete, with a ton of triathlon knowledge and experience, and he is always willing to support the development of our youth and junior athletes. He's also the only coach fit enough to swim, bike and run with the juniors, so it's always an added bonus to have Stefan alongside the athletes. Thanks Stef.]

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