Over the weekend, I witnessed some incredible acts of sportsmanship and I was ready to write a little posting about those moments. I then became a little busy at work so I had to put it off for a couple of days but when I saw Mat Reid's posting on the Trisport Canada website I was inspired to stay up a little later tonight to put it down on paper. Here are just a few sites I took in over the past few days that makes our sports (tri and du), and the athletes, so amazing.
One of the most memorable moments was when I saw my coach guiding his visually impaired athlete through the finishing chute. They posted a great time and it was awesome to see them work as a team to finish a very tough event. Well done Syd and Ryan!
In another display, I noticed a triathlete closing in on the finish line but as he was turning his number around for the announcer (to call out his name) the number fell off. The athlete right behind him could have easily ran past and climbed up one spot but stopped and waited for the man to pick up his number and finish in front of the thoughful gentleman.
On several occassions, families would join in the final run with mom or dad as they finished this long distance race. Sometimes this leads to a little traffic in the finish area but you can tell how special it is so I say let it continue. In one particualr instance, though, the father picked up his little infant and politely stood to the side as five or six other runners passed him. He was being extra thoughtful not to be a distraction to the others and waited for a gap to carry his little one across the line.
Mat Reid, although I do not personally know Mat I know of Mat, was running much farther back in the field than I expected. I asked one of my friends if he knew what had happened and he told me he saw him out on the bike course with a flat. I guess this happened a few times to Mat on the ride (i believe 3 flats) which would have driven anyone of us of our bikes but Mat continued and finished his race. A couple days later, I see a posting on the Subaru Tri site asking anyone if they had helped Mat along the way to please contact him as he was greatful for the parts to make a finish possible. Here we have several great examples of sportsmanship. Not only for Mat wanting to thank strangers for their assistance but also to those who took their minds off their own race to help a fellow competitor.
During the course of the day, I also witnesses many instances where athletes would stop along the run course to high five, hug, kiss or even chat to their friends and fans. The appreciation these racers showed for their supporters is beyind words and reminds us that this is just a hobby for the majority of us and we should be thankful that we have the physical ability to complete such a tough endurance event.
In a blog I read after the race, posted by Tommy Ferris, he spoke about his race and the DQ of David Frake. Mr. Frake had finished second with Tommy in second but David, for some unknown reason, was DQ'd to move Tommy into second. Apparently, the duathletes started their race at a time that put them in the mess of the slower triathletes and Tommy thinks maybe David was forced to cross the centre line to keep his racing (this is often an issue that duathletes are presented as they are often an after thought to an event) momentum. Ferris stated that this DQ would be unfortunate as David Frake was having a very quick race and Tommy's respect for David was evident as Tommy still considered his compeititor as the second place finisher.
Lastly, not only are we racers but most of us are great fans on the course and after our race. How many times did I hear other athletes encouraging others on as they crossed paths. Countless. Many racers finished their event and hung around to cheer on their friends and co-triathletes as they completed their race.
I hope these examples of sportsmanship continue with the next generation of athletes as it is these acts of fair play that makes our sport so great.