Thank you to Ben Eason for sharing his story, who on May 31st 2015 achieved a 3 year goal when he crossed the line in the Outlaw Half in Nottingham.
As a marathon runner, a Dad of 3 kids under 10 and a busy commuter, I suspected that it was a stage too far to consider.
After sitting down with my wife and children making “promises” that it would not impact any other important aspects of my life like work, school runs and most importantly family time we agreed that we could achieve this as a team – Team Eason. My eldest daughter (9 years old) came up with the nickname of ‘IronDad’ one night on holiday and it stuck! (I must admit I rather liked it)
What ensued was hard, I know that sounds obvious but I mean really hard. Winter turbo sessions in the garage started at 4:30am in order to get back for school runs. I was always the first one at the pool in the morning as it opened at 6/6:30 to ensure that I did my session and still made my train for work by 7/7:30. It was a logistical nightmare making sure that work shirts were in the right place, or running kit was ready for a run back to the train station after work whilst ensuring I was home to read bed time stories and help out with bath time with my youngest (3 years old). The commitment I had made meant that weekends were the hardest as I trained in the mornings whilst the world slept, was back for breakfast and took my 7 year old son to Parkrun. This was where everything started to click together. Including my children in what I was doing meant that they felt a part of the goal, a part of the journey. Using Parkrun at my son’s pace, which is getting quicker all the time; he is now at 24 minute PB, as my warm down on a Saturday helped. As did going on bike rides with the family with my youngest in a trailer on the back of my bike or my oldest riding by my side as I ran. Equally important was ensuring my wife could achieve her goals, so balancing my training with her training or her goals outside of sport meant that it didn’t always appear to be about me. As did ensuring that I wasn’t always on the verge of going to sleep on an evening – or an afternoon at the weekend, no mean feat I can tell you.
But when I crossed the line in a time of 6 hours and 16 minutes in May 2015 I knew that we had all achieved and back at home Team Eason had all been out on the bikes as a show of support, what more could I ask for?
I am not saying that my family have to be future Ironman finishers or even triathletes, but when my son completes his 100th parkrun shortly after his 8th birthday this summer, or when my daughter – who loves her swimming – joins me in the lake this summer, or when my youngest daughter insisted last Saturday on going for a run “like Mummy & Daddy do” then you realize that there is a whole other side to what you are doing. The knock effect for your children is that they assume it is an important part of life and enjoy doing it even without you. I must admit I love that!
What next for IronDad and Team Eason in 2016? Well I am signed up for Ironman Staffordshire 70.3 – a weekend away for me and my son as he is racing in the IronKids event the day before….. oh and the small matter of full Iron Distance event The Gladiator in the New Forest at the end of June.