I have enjoyed the more normal daily timetable of the Easter recess. When Parliament sits our day is so chaotic that it is difficult to get regular patterned training times fitted in, other than the classic 5am sort (and I am not a fan of 5am). When on recess we spend our time working in the constituency, which means a more normal hourly working day. Few residents want to meet us at 10m at night (the time the House of Commons finishes most Monday and Tuesday evenings) so I can plan and stick to training in the mornings and evening post work.
Today with the sun shining I managed to do a very enjoyable run. I had not pre set target or time in which to do it, just the fun and freedom to run until I had enough. In the end I was out for about 1 and a half hours at a fairly leisurely pace. But the fun of it was the ability to run with no specific target or time frame and with the sun and fresh air it was superb. It reminded me why we do this, for FUN!
I returned home and read my latest copy of 220 Triathlon magazine earlier this evening and there is a column by Chrissie Wellington in each edition. This month she mentions that very important issue of raising the profile of Triathlon and minority sports more generally. I fully support this view and her position in World Sport means that she does have the ability to do that and she is certainly making a god job of doing just that and as she correctly notes, a couple of medals at the Olympics will help us go even further.
She also notes in the column the need to see a wider spread of sports at a young age. It is spot on. One of the reasons I like the concept of the TATA kids of steel events is that it introduces so many young people to our sport. However, we do need to do more to ensure people know there is more to sport than football and rugby. For those of us working in politics I accept there is also more to do. Chrissie rightly makes the case for seeing more be invested in school posts and a wider choice of sports and government has a role to play in that. It would also easy for me to say that this government is restricted by having less money to use due to the last governments profligate spending over its period in office, however I have been generally true to my word of not making this Blog political and with this minor exception I will stick to that.
The government is giving schools and especially academies more and more power to do their own thing to have more freedom to set their own agenda and with that will come the chance to influence our local schools and colleges to look at more sports. Locally here in Norwich I met the Head of the Victory Academy recently where a large number of the staff take part in triathlon and that will feed through to the pupils who will be encouraged to take part. No doubt I will be seeing them all flood past my slow version of the Fritton Triathlon this summer in Great Yarmouth!
Good teachers have a huge influence on us as children and we can all still remember our best ones. Sport is a valuable part of our education as it helps to instil not just discipline that sport needs, but also healthy way of life, competitiveness and a chance to release any extra adrenaline we have as well as most importantly having FUN.
If we can get our educational teams to promote the wider sports on offer and get kids taking an interest then we can see this develop further. For now this will be helped by more and more of us taking part, spreading the word and being true to a core part of why sport matters: having FUN!
For all of us who take part and enjoy triathlon the job rests with us to spread the word and continue to enjoy our great port and to ensure it always stays FUN.