How social media comments can support funding for a unique Triathlon conference

Dear Readers,

Thank you for all your views, comments and shares over the last two weeks. I look forward to updating you on my Deca Ironman training as we enter the New Year and up to the event starting June 28th.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post addressing the events company TED on ‘How to build a conference on Triathlon’ – it was a bit of fun, what can I say. I personally work for an events company called Terrapinn in Singapore but had been previously based in their HQ in London. Next week the CEO arrives into town and I would like to seek funding to put the kind of agenda you see below together – running a free exhibition in London, Sydney & California. Much in the same way the London Bike Show is held in the Excel (good job on that to the organizers I must add).

BUT I need your help. The key decision makers in the Triathlon and Cycling industry exist in the many linkedin groups, blogs, twitter feeds dotted around the social media landscape. If you have two minutes I would be very grateful if you could share this idea & comment on your thoughts for the project below. This blog had over 1000 views in the last 24hours (not bad for a lad that writes at lunchtime I suppose) and some fantastic emails from elite athletes (even an astronaut!). I hope the same enthusiasm can be channeled into this event proposal.

I think that would build a pretty good case for the Boss Man.

Thank you.


And so the framework for the proposed conference…….

kona crawl

Looking at what goes behind the pain and suffering…..and I suppose also the sense of achievement

Good morning TED

Your work in providing a forum for innovative presentations on technology, entertainment and design has clearly left a mark on the conference industry (I should know, I work as a producer in it), prompting debate on the world wide web and inspiring the next generation. Great stuff. As an avid sports enthusiast, I have always wanted to produce/be involved in a thought-provoking, exciting event whereby the best sports athletes and scientists come together to challenge old ideas and establish new ones. Being in Singapore, there are present challenges in putting together a forum on my own using your TEDx platform (flight reimbursements etc. I dare say this is a call out to those organizers in the country :p!) and furthermore I think an exciting topic such as ‘Sport’ needs a full team behind it anyway. To that end, I thought I would put together a ‘wish list’ for an agenda  on the specific subject of triathlon – any further suggestions, just drop me a line.

We would definitely have athletes on spin bikes & infinity pools alongside the stage throughout the days proceedings!

Granted, not all of these presentations are as wacky or striking as some of your other installments but I think it is a careful balance between recognized veterans of the sports/its disciplines and the highest respected innovators in the sport. Whatever it is, the speaker line up is an extremely exciting prospect and I think the triathlon industry will queue up to get into the front row – no risk of a ‘quiet’ day two morning (as can be the case with conferences) at this one! Hope you enjoy and sure if nothing else it will break up the late afternoon in the office!

Day One – Excelling in the three disciplines of Triathlon

Session 1: Opening remarks

To start the day off, well there are dozens of great quotes but I found this one, that is not by a triathlete but I think sets the spirit of why in our often comfortable day to day lives we still challenge ourselves with a triathlon:

We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.” – Sir Roger Bannister, first runner to run a sub-4 minute mile

Now to the opening speeches: I think this has to come from a respected and prolific winner of the Ironman Kona World Championship, as it will really set the tone of the meeting to come & certainly get people to sit down & listen! They won’t even need a coffee. My vote for opening day one or two (depending on their own schedules and I picked retired athletes because of training schedules etc)

Chrissie WellingtonChrissie Wellington is the queen of Ironman triathlon and has been World Champion 4 times. She holds, or held, all three world and championship records relating to ironman-distance  triathlon races: firstly, the overall world record, secondly, the Ironman World Championship course record (from 2009 until Mirinda Carfrae lowered it in 2013), and thirdly, the official world record for all Ironman-branded triathlon races over the full Ironman distance. She won the World Championship in three consecutive years (2007–2009), but could not start the 2010 World Championship race because of illness, but regained the title in 2011. Furthermore (there is quite a big list here!) she was undefeated in all thirteen of her races over the ironman distance and is the only triathlete, male or female, to have won the World Championship less than a year after turning professional. This achievement was described by the British Triathlon Federation as “a remarkable feat, deemed to be a near impossible task for any athlete racing as a rookie at their first Ironman World Championships’.

Dave Scott

Dave Scott, is a former US triathlete and the first six-time Ironman Triathon World Champion. He won in Kona six times in 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, and 1987, with only his rival, Mark Allen, managing to match these six titles eight years later. Scott is also referred to as “The Man.” Remarkably Dave Scott came out of ‘retirement’ in 1994 at age 40 to take second place in Kona and 2 years later he returned again to place 5th, running the marathon in 2:45!

Of course there is a whole host of great triathletes, some of which can be found in this list below:

15 Greatest Male Triathletes of All Time

15 Greatest Women Triathletes of All Time

Session 2: Panel discussion on ‘The future of Olympic distance triathlon’

[1] Andy Schmitz, USA Triathlon’s High Performance General Manager

[2] Ben Bright, Head Coach, British Triathlon

[3] Omar Gonzalez, Coach of Javier Gomez (Winner of ITU World Championship, literally by a few metres – great race report here)

[4] Dr Patrick Schamasch, Medical & Scientific Director, International Olympic Committee

Session 3: Breaking it down into the 3 disciplines; what advice do the most accomplished athletes have?

Swimming – Dr. Rondi Davies

Rondi Davies

Ok swimming is hard but marathon swimming is even harder! Rondi Davies is the American record holder for the fastest time around Manhattan Island (5:44:47) for a woman and holds the world record for a 10 mile swim. It doesn’t stop there, she also co-founded the 8 Bridges Hudson River Swim, a 7 day event of 120 miles, with David Barra and in 2012 was the only person besides Grace van der Byl to finish each of the stages on the race!

Cycling – Chris Broadman

Chris Broadman

Chris Broadman is a British former racing cyclist  who won an individual pursuit gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics and has broken the World Hour Record 3 times – including breaking Eddy Merckxx 28 year old record under the same conditions by only 10 metres in 2000. He has worn the yellow jersey on 3 separate occasions in the Tour de France and is nicknamed ‘The Professor’ for his meticulous attention to detail in preparation & training, and his technical know-how. Boardman had a huge focus on interval training and was a keen user of power measuring devices – something which was being developed in the early 1990s. He quite famously had an altitude tent  built in his house to help him prepare for the hour record attempt. Although suffering from low hormone levels which outside professional cycling competition would need testosterone therapy (and in 1998 he was diagnosed with an illness like osteoporosis) Broadman still holds the record for the fastest average speed in a time trial (of 55.152kph) in the 7.2km time trial prologue at the 1994 Tour de France.

Running – Paula Radcliffe

Paula RadcliffePaula Radcliffe is the current world record holder for the marathon distance at a time of 2:15:25 hours. She is 3 time winner of the London Marathon (2002, 2003, 2005), the NYC Marathon (2004, 2007, 2008) and also winner of the Chicago Marathon in 2002. She is also the former world champion in the marathon, half marathon, cross country and winner of 10k silver medal at the 1999 World Championships & 2002 Commonwealth champion at 5k. Paula has represented Great Britain in 4 consecutive Olympic Games. All this and she is an asthma sufferer! In addition to her running titles she is an MBE, winner of IAAF World Athlete of the Year, Laureus World Comeback of the Year, AIMS World Athlete of the Year (3 times) and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Session 4: On the day , looking at the grub & the gear

Why proper race nutrition is so important – Mark Allen, 2nd six-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion. 

Quick background, can’t really use that phrase with the mountain of stuff coming next, to Mark Allen: Competing in six Ironman Triathlon Championships up to 1989 before emerging victorious that year. That would be the first of six Ironman victories, the last coming in 1995 at age 37. He has also excelled at the Olympic distance, winning the sport’s inaugural World Championships in 1989 in Avignon, France by more than a minute. He also went undefeated in 10 trips to the Nice International Championships and from 1988-1990 he put together a winning streak of 20 races. Over the course of his racing career, which ended in 1996, he maintained a 90% average in top-three finishes. He was named Triathlete of the Year six times by Triathlete magazine, and in 1997 Outside magazine tabbed him The World’s Fittest Man. Allen was inducted into the Ironman Triathlon Hall of Fame in 1997.

Session 5 – What’s next in wetsuit innovation?

Xavier Merian, Founder, Aquaman

In 1983, triathlon started on the world scene and with the lack of wetsuits in the sport – much like this epic 80s advert:

Then Xavier Merian changed it all and started working on the world’s first 1984 Triathlon wetsuit. AQUAMAN, as the company became known, put together the first wetsuit in 1984 which could provide warmth, freedom of movement, low water friction, and easy to take off. Even to this day AQUAMAN is dedicated to finding technological advancements that make a suit quicker and more comfortable. @triathleteurope recently reviewed the latest model – AQUAMAN ART – to have the ultimate in suit flexibility,link


And with all that talk on innovations in making you go faster in the water, my recommendations is the lunchtime talk should be about being invisible to sharks…..

Session 6 – Its all about the bike

Cervélo Triathlon/Time trial bicycles have won more pro races than any other, and they are by far the most popular bicycles at Ironman and time trial events for athletes of all levels. Enough said. I think we should get the whole time to join us………

Session 7 : How to get a powerful running experience

Ian Adamson, Director of Education & R&D, Newton Running Shoes

Ian is not only an expert in shoe design but an extremely successful adventure racer with six world championship wins, 15 world championship podium finishes and 14 international adventure race championship titles. He is a three time and current world record holder for endurance kayaking (262 miles in 24 hours.) Additionally Ian has competed internationally in adventure racing, canoeing, kayaking, orienteering and sailing. Ian holds a BS in Bio-mechanical engineering and an MS in Sports Medicine, and is featured regularly in the educational videos posted on the Newton website (also on the Newton Channel on YouTube).  You can read a great Q&A session with Ian on runblogger .

Session 8: IRONMAN Panel session – Still stuck on where to phrase this as the next trends/innovations in the sport or perhaps more ‘the future’.

Remarks – ‘From the Trenches’ with Diana Bertsch, Eleven Year Race Director of Ironman Kona – might go something like this

[1] Asker Jeukendrup Global Senior Director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (@Jeukendrup).

Jeukendrup, a distinguished author, Ironman triathlete and registered sports and exercise nutritionist, comes to GSSI from his position as Professor of Exercise Metabolism and Director of the Human Performance lab at the University of Birmingham in England.

[2] Joe Friel is an endurance sports coach best known as an elite triathlon and cycling coach as well as the author of The Triathlete’s Training BibleThe Cyclist’s Training BibleThe Mountain Biker’s Training BibleGoing Long: Training for Ironman-Distance Triathlons, and Your First Triathlon. Joe has trained endurance athletes since 1980. His clients are elite amateur and professional road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes, and duathletes. They come from all corners of the globe and include American and foreign national champions, world championship competitors, and an Olympian. He is the author of ten books on training for endurance athletes including the popular and best-selling Training Bible book series. He holds a masters degree in exercise science, is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified Elite-level coach, and is a founder and past Chairman of the USA Triathlon National Coaching Commission.

[3] Walt LoweMedical Director of the IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute at Memorial Hermann. 

The Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute is a comprehensive sports medicine clinic providing elite care for athletes of all ages and skill levels. The institute is based in Houston, Texas, serving the community with locations in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center, Memorial City Medical Center, and The Woodlands. The Institute brings together highly trained experts in sports science, orthopedics,orthopedic surgery, sports physical therapy, human performance, strength and conditioning and sport nutrition to help athletes of all ages and abilities prevent injury, recover from injury and improve performance to reach their personal athletic goals.


I HAVE to get one of these!

Afternoon sessions take a further look behind at keynote researchers & advocates of our three disciplines

Session 9 – Perfecting that swim stroke

Rajat Mittel, Professor of mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins

Rajat oversaw the famous ‘Paddle vs Propeller: Which Olympic swimming stroke is superior?‘. Using high-precision laser scans and underwater videos of elite swimmers, and additionally using animation software to match the video sequence. The study supervised by the fluid dynamics expert found that the deep catch stroke, resembling a paddle, has the edge over sculling, the bent-arm, propeller-inspired motion. This research was later published in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering but you can find a popular science write-up here – ‘Delineating the Perfect Swim Stroke’

Session 10 – Aerodynamic Cycling Analysis

David Salazar, General Manger, A2 Wind Tunnel

David manages the world’s first wind tunnel which can measure aerodynamic forces and can capture biomechanics as they occur in a real-time, frame-by-frame fashion throughout the entire tunnel session. The tunnel provides a consistent aerodynamic environment at speeds ranging from 30 to 85 mph and clients include everything from triathletes, time trialist to motorcycle manufacturers, racing cars!

Session 11 – Barefoot Running – should this be how you should train & race?

An the debate ravages on – Barefoot running advocates argue minimal running is better for the feet in that it strengthens them and reduces chronic injuries such as IT Band Syndrome, Runner’s Knee, shinsplints and other common running injuries. The side of the oppostions argue the barefoot running forces runners to forestrike as opposed to heel-strike, which is the result of the evolution of the running shoe to exhibit a cushioned heel.

I think with all this running around in preparation for an Ironman we should get one of barefoot running’s greatest supporters in; Christopher McDougall  is an the author of the best-selling book Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. He is also a contributing editor for Men’s Health and a host of other major magazines. And of course is quite a good runner as well!!!

Session 12 – Altitude training research

Mo Farah is arguably as Lord Coe put it ‘the greatest British athlete of all time’. Maybe we should find out how and why he is so good, might help that dreaded final 10k on the Ironman marathon right? Alberto Salazar is the American coach of Mo Farah and Galen Rupp (Olympic silver medalist and current American recorder holder of 10k)……I bet he has a few interesting things to say!

Evening session bonanza – Determination & guts

I would NOT like to get in a ring with this guy!

‘Guts and Glory’

Baxter Humby is a Canadian kickboxer known as “The One Armed Bandit” due to his missing right hand, which was amputated at birth just below his elbow after becoming entangled with the umbilical cord. He is the only man in the world to win world titles with only one hand. Baxter is the current IMTC (International Muay Thai Council) World Super Welterweight Champion. He holds a number of different title belts including WBC Super Welterweight National Champion (2010), IKKC USA Kickboxing Champion, IMTC World Middleweight Champion and IKBA International Kickboxing Champion.

‘Yes you can’ with Team Hoyt

Team Hoyt is father and son Dick Hoyt and Rick Hoyt, from Massachusetts, who have competed together in various athletic endeavors, including marathons and triathlons. Rick has cerebral palsy and during competition Dick pulls Rick in a special boat as they swim, carries him in a special seat in the front of a bicycle, and pushes him in a special wheelchair as they run. Team Hoyt was inducted to the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2008

Now delegates you can go out and enjoy the town………but get ready for Day Two!!!