Wednesday, 31 August 2011
Chrissie Wellington: Iron Woman
I imagine that most people do not know who Chrissie Wellington is. I certainly didn’t until around a month ago when I came across her incredible story. Chrissie Wellington is a triathlete, or to be more accurate, an Ironman competitor. Actually, to be more accurate this woman is a 3 time Iron man world champion.
Just quickly for those who don’t know exactly an ironman entails; it’s a 3.8km arm-aching swim followed by 180km saddle-soar cycle and finished by a full, blistering, leg destroying marathon. So....not much. This event has to be the ultimate test in human endurance.
So what make’s Chrissie Wellington’s story worth my time typing and yours reading? Is it that she is a three time ironman champion? Is it that she regularly beats most elite men as well as all the women? Is it even that her quickest marathon time (completed after the 3.8km arm-aching swim followed by 180km saddle-soar cycle) would have finished in 5th place during the 2010 London Marathon? All of that alone would make this story worthwhile, just not here.
Chrissie Wellington‘s story is one worth telling as it can give hope to everyone. She did not start running until she was about 21.
“I started off doing 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 40. All of a sudden I’m running for an hour and a half.”
She then decided to run the London marathon in 2002 and did it in just over 3 hours (I’ve often seen it printed that a good first time is between 4-5 hours). So in such a quick time she had already become a very competent runner. The following year, though, she was unfortunately hit by a car. She damaged her quadriceps muscles which meant that she could not run. Undeterred, she took up swimming to maintain her fitness. It was from this that she was introduced to triathlon. She started winning races and became a pro in 2007, the same year she won the ironman world championships on her debut.
This story is incredible. Almost as incredible at the lack of publicity she gets. Paula Radcliffe would get mugged going out to do the weekly shop. Chrissie Wellington could hit most people in the forehead with a huge rubber stamp saying, “Chrissie Wellington: Ironwoman” and most people would not have the foggiest who she was.
When I read the story it gave me hope. It proves that most people do not realise their full potential. It shows that with determination, there truly are no limits. You may not become a world champion at something but you might, just might. The overweight person with no confidence can cross the marathon finish line, can lose the extra weight, can achieve all that they want to, if they put the effort in. The middle of the pack swimmer can become front of the pack with dedication. You may not know it yet, but you could be a world beater. Chrissie Wellington proves this.