Jim Bonner

IMG_0729Born May 1965. Spent most of my younger years in a pool of some description swimming and playing water-polo for my local club Barking. I did quite well and got to the nationals for both as a teenager but never really took it too seriously. I always had a bike but only ever cycled to the local park and round the streets. I never ran and always found the school annual cross country a nightmare!!

16/4/1981 and I’m watching Magnum PI (season 1 episode 18). For the younger club members that’s Tom Sellick. Suddenly the usual unbelievable plot line becomes laughable as he (Tom) enters an Ironman race…..5 mile sea swim – 26 mile marathon – 100 mile cycle (I know not the correct official distances)……how can they expect us to believe this stuff!!

1982 and I meet Su, get married and have 2 amazing boys. Swimming and water-polo take a back seat although Su and I keep fit at the gym.

1995 and I meet some friends through the children’s groups and some belong to the local Jiu Jitsu club. Having been a bit of a Bruce Lee fan this had always intrigued me so for the next 10 years I train and get my 1st Dan, which to be honest I never dreamed I could do! Part of the training involved weekend trail runs, just 4-5 miles, but after the initial agony and soreness I started to really enjoy it.

1997, just another day at work and my colleague says hey Jim, fancy the New York marathon? I say sure lets do it….never really thought it through but maybe he will now back down and say it was a joke….he doesn’t so here we go. I only got 6 weeks of training in after hurting myself running 28 miles in training (doh!) but I finish and suddenly I start to wonder what else could I do that I didn’t think was really possible?

2008 in December James and I do the Hastings centenary marathon. It was a bit nippy on the coast for the final 6 miles!!

2010 and Magnum has been nagging at me for too long. James, my eldest son and I sign up for the Big Woody. Iron distance race, quarry swim, 2,700m of climbing on the bike and a trail run…..this will be my first triathlon. Unfortunately, James is unable to take part on medical grounds but he’s there to support me along with Sam, my youngest and Su. This will be interesting, I really do not know what I am doing, all I know is I have 16 hours in which to complete this, so it’s a long day out for sure.

Highlights of the day are, the water is freezing. I lead the swim briefly before realising I haven’t been breathing and panic, but this is my best discipline! Eventually I calm down and finish soooo dizzy! T1, scone with cream and jam…yum yum but lose a few race places. Never ridden 180km before and it nearly breaks me! I eat a big pie which goes down a treat and I can feel some of the organisers giving me a slightly odd look? T2 and I can’t quite believe that I still have a marathon to do. Half way round and I need a burger….and a cup of tea! Just heaven. I finish the run in the dark and people come out of everywhere to clap and cheer me home 🙂 What a fantastic feeling but NEVER AGAIN, that’s done now.

2011 and I’m at it again ha ha. The Big Woody with my son James and Sam is doing the Little Woody which is like a 70.3 but a bit longer. A 70.3 ++ if you like.

2012 and Su is now keen to try this triathlon malarky and we see the TWTC swim sessions advertised. We are concerned that we won’t be able to keep up and we’re both a bit concerned on our first session. Eric Perrier greets us at pool side and we love it! We’ve been hooked ever since.

IMG_1385I’ve tried a few other challenges, 2012 and 2014 I cycled with James from Blackheath to Paris non stop. It’s 400km and the weather has been dreadful both times and in Feb 2016 I did an Ultra-marathon cross country at night with James and Su and Karen (James’ partner). Su and Karen manage 33 km and James and I manage 55km. I tried fuelling on sausage rolls for this one….not a good idea by the way! In 2015 James and I ran the Snowdon marathon where it was -6 degrees on the summit, in July! I’ve done the Outlaw long distance and July 2016 I did the Bastion long distance at Hever. In September 2016 James and I are tackling IronMan Weymouth and it looks like quite a few TWTC club mates will be there as well 🙂 Can’t wait.

Tunbridge Wells Triathlon Club has been fabulous, I’ve made so many new friends, been inspired by everyone’s motivation and drive. Some of us are completers not really competers but that’s just fabulous, we all have our inner “hurdles” to tackle, can’t swim, scared of open water, don’t like riding down hill or in a group etc. the more you talk to the members the more you’ll realise we’ve all been there. Some of the club are superb and I can only marvel at their achievements but I think we all enjoy the challenge just the same.

I’m not sure what’s going to get me motivated for 2017 and beyond but I expect and hope its an adventure 🙂

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