So last weekend I headed down south for a job interview, and whilst I was down there I managed to visit my old school, Lambrook, and give a couple of talks to the kids there about triathlons. They actually run a triathlon in the summer there, with the kids swimming a couple of lengths of the school pool, doing a lap of the grounds on their bikes and then running a lap of one of the fields, so when I asked at the start if anyone had done a triathlon before, I got a nice show of hands.
The first talk I gave was to the Pre-Prep, which is 4-6 year olds, in their morning assembly. After a quick five minute presentation, I was inundated with 10 minutes of questions (and quite a few from the teachers!) until they had to go to their lessons, which was a relief after dreading an awkward silence with no one being that interested!
The main talk I gave was on Saturday afternoon, to the main school, with ages ranging from 6-13, and with a turn out of most the school. I took along my bike and wetsuit to talk about and show the kids and started with a quick introduction to the sport, talking through the different distances and then stages, and then talked about my experiences of the sport, racing 2 Ironmans and how I train and prepare for them.
Since the previous talk had overrun, I cut this one short, knowing that the kids would have more experience of the sport so hopefully more questions. I finished my talk after 20 minutes and then opened up for questions, leaving a generous amount of time to fill in my hour slot. Sure enough,, as soon as I finished I had questions galore, and was challenged with some very good and interesting questions. They ranged from the usual ‘what happens when you need to go to the toilet’ and ‘what happens when you fall off and are clipped into your bike’, to the more pressing about ‘what drives you to do this’ and to ‘when do you think you will stop doing triathlons’.
All the kids were extremely attentive and the time flew by with the questions. Even the teachers enjoyed it and had their fair share of questions! Before I knew it, and with still a sea of hands, I was told we had to stop after the next question and my time was up as the kids had to get off to their lessons. A few of the older ones who had lessons with the teachers who were there, stayed behind and got to have a play with my kit and ask more detailed questions as well as the teachers, a few of whom taught me when I was 13 all those years ago!
It was an extrememly enjoyable experience, and so rewarding to see all the kids (and teachers!) so interested in what I had to say, and the feedback I got was that they were talking about it with great enthusiasm afterwards in their lessons. If I have inspired just a few of them to try out the sport or get involved with exercise, then I leave a happy man.
As a final plug, if anyone wants me to come talk at their school, their kid’s school, or their work, just ping me and email (at the top right) and I’ll be happy to sort something out.