New York City Triathalon by Ben Duffy

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I hadn’t heard of many people taking part in the NYC Triathlon but from what I read online there are 2 things about this race. The effort that is required in order to get to the start line alone is nearly a mini triathlon in itself and out of a lot of the triathlons out there this is a must do race. Having completed this race and joined the class of 2014 I can safely say that if you get a chance you have got to do it.

Very early on after signing up to the race I knew I wanted to run it for charity. I chose 2, both of which have had some impact on me so I wanted to give back, CRY Ireland and The Alzheimer Society of Ireland.

Something I didn’t appreciate before flying over to NYC from Ireland is the logistics of sourcing equipment 24hrs before the race and being punctual for the official sign in, NYC is a massive city so I managed to get a bike and make it to registration before it closed.

Pre-Race, Sunday Having gone to bed at 11pm and not really slept I was up at 3am and out of the room by 4am, so as you can imagine I wasn’t feeling too fresh and geared up for the race. We made it by taxi to the transition area and I laid out my gear that I would use to complete the other disciplines throughout the race. It was a bit of a walk from the transition area to the swim start, I overheard someone say it was 1.5miles.

Swim I was one the last groups in the water which meant I didn’t get going to until 8:00am. After the race started I made sure I worked my way to the front of the corral (group) so I didn’t have to swim over all of those first-timers. It worked out great. The current was really strong, and it was in our favour.  To my complete surprise, the Hudson River was absolutely pristine. The strong current made for an interesting swim.  I wanted to use it as much as I could, so I didn’t push too hard.  It was actually difficult to tell how much effort I was putting in because I was moving so quickly.  In hindsight, I probably could have gone a little harder.

photo 1

  

Bike I thought Manhattan was flat, I was wrong.  As I started at the back there were a lot of riders ahead of me which gave me great confidence passing them out. I managed to find a good path and stayed clear of most riders for the best part of the bike. The hills weren’t really steep they just kept coming, and some seemed to go on for a while. I rode at a steady effort, as I didn’t want to burn too many calories. Although it is nice to be in the front end of a race, you can easily lose your sense of your effort.
 

Run
The transition areas are located in Riverside Park, a place I got to know very well as I made that walk to and from quite a bit throughout the duration of the pre / post race. The one thing I completely forgot about was the 15% grade hill leading out of the park, running when you get off a bike is hard enough, add a crazy hill climb and you’ll most certainly have jelly for legs.

The majority of the run is based in Central Park but when you finally make it up that hill and you get onto 72nd street, it was a great feeling, nothing like I’d experienced before, running in the streets of NYC. When I finally made it to Central park the sun began to warm up and I really began to feel the effects of the course.

I finished with a time of 2:37:41, which I was very happy about. 2 people who I forgot to mention are my girlfriend Sarah and one of my good friends Brettzer, who lives in NYC, Brettzer for putting both myself and Sarah up for a few nights, and Sarah for generally putting up with me throughout the race.

I am happy to say I raised a total of €1500 for my selected charities and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated, I know it means a lot to the charities and also to me.

NYC Tri

If you would like to learn about CRY, find out more about our services or participate in a fundraising activity please contact lebbs@cry.ie or check our website.

 

 

 

My Rio World Cup Journey by Michael Griffin

Rose of Tralee Football _CB (2)

I travelled to Rio to experience the atmosphere of the World Cup and brought my Na Gaeil GAA jersey with me with the intention of getting a few autographs (maybe two or three) and if I got more I would sell/auction it to charity. Luckily it quickly became five, six etc. and when I managed to get Diego Maradona, the most talked about World Cup legend ever, it really gave me motivation and confidence to get more. When it became known at home through the media what was happening it really took off and I put myself under pressure to achieve more for the selected charity. The selected charity being CRY –Cardiac Risk in the Young. I choose CRY for a few reasons. I wanted a young people’s charity, I wanted a small charity that would really benefit from the funds and because cardiac risk is so prominent in sport, CRY stood out to be a perfect fit. The following piece is a short insight on how I made the impossible possible.

Here is the list of 24 players that signed the jersey. This list is composed of 5 World Cup winners including 2 captains and 4 Champions League winners.

Leighton Baines, Leroy Fer, Michael Vorm, Tim Krul, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Danny Murphy, Robbie Savage, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Roberto Martinez, Santiago Solari, Ian Wright, Diego Maradona, Gary Lineker, Martin O Neill, Patrick Vieria, Fabio Cannavaro, Gordan Strachan, Phil Neville, David Trezeguet, Alan Shearer, Christan Vieri, Jamie Carragher, Mesult Ozil, Zico

All players were very obliging and willing to sign and take a selfie. Security with most former players was not an issue. For example in relation to Diego Maradona a number of security guys were helping me find a way in without getting themselves in trouble. The first autograph I got on the jersey was English player Leighton Baines. The hotel was closely guarded but I decided to walk in anyway and when I entered I saw Baines and quickly took advantage, he obliged signed and posed for a photo. I was then escorted from the hotel.

The following day I made my way to Ipanema beach and luckily came across the Netherlands team hotel, the team were leaving the hotel to make they’re way to the training ground and I wriggled my way through to get a few more autographs from the likes of Leroy Fer, Michael Vorm, Tim Krul the star penalty stopper and Klaas Jan Huntelaar the former Real Madrid striker.

I realised early on that I had a knack of figuring out where players could be, what time of the day, where they are staying and I had confidence in myself that I would find more. Danny Murphy the former Liverpool star was the first to help me in a way after I asked him and explained the jersey and charity idea. He gave me hints as to where some players were at certain times and near the end he was probably sick of me because I was bumping into him so often which was all by chance.

One day stood out more than others. I managed to come across Danny Murphy and Robbie Savage doing media work on the beach and after having some craic and recording an interview with them I made my way towards the hotels and bumped into Manchester United legend Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Van Nistelrooy was so obliging and after explaining the charity idea he called two more friends in for a selfie including current Everton boss Roberto Martinez and former Real Madrid star Santiago Solari. I met Marcelo (my Brazilian host) for lunch and he mentioned that he read Maradona was in town. I said what an autograph that would be, so, with some help from a friend of Marcelo’s we took a road trip with a 5% chance of meeting Maradona, it was enough for me. Kerrymen are known for being cute so I used this cuteness to charm my way to meeting one of the greatest player ever, certainly the most talked about ever Diego Maradona.
Even-though it sounds like work, I loved every minute of the rush and meeting the players. The BBC and ITV had studios at the end of Copacabana beach. The first group matches of the day started at 1pm and at 12pm. One afternoon I decided to sit outside the media centre to see what happens. Within minutes I met Gary Lineker, Patrick Vieria, Martin O Neill and Gordan Strachan and later Phil Neville, David Trezeguet and Christan Vieri. During my travels I visited Flamengo football club and happened to bump into Jamie Carragher the former Liverpool icon who was very polite.

Social media also became my friend, especially twitter. Fabio Cannavaro the Italian World Cup winning captain is a regular tweeter. He tweeted a photo of himself on the beach wearing a tweed hat, similar to a tweed hat I later bought myself and I recognised the background. I was having lunch at the time and quickly paid my bill and ran to where he was. He again was very kind and was impressed with the idea and the jersey.

There is a very well-known hotel in Rio called Fasano. I was sitting at the bar drinking a coke, yes a coke, and nibbling on some nuts when in walked Cannavaro whom I already had met along with Danny Murphy and Alan Shearer. Murphy commented “are you still here” and Shearer took time to sign the jersey and pose for a photo.

I was lucky enough to have the honour of attending a World Cup Final. The atmosphere was one highlight but another was getting so close to the winning team Germany after the match that I could smell the hard work. One man was particularly memorable and that was Arsenal star Mesult Ozil. He signed the shirt and doodled on my neck in the process, the media had a field day and I ended up live on Argentine television I was later informed.

The jersey and trip was a huge success but I was missing one thing…a Brazilian autograph.. Zico was without doubt the most talked about legend aka Brazilian footballer in Rio, mainly because he was the most successful Flamengo fc player. Flamengo being the most popular club in Rio. I received information that Zico had a football academy not too far from Rio therefore I decide to act on it  After gracefully avoiding security I met a man who directed me to the president of the clubs office. I explained my situation and he hit me with some bad news. Zico was in Sao Paulo and was travelling to Japan in the morning. I was very disappointed but…this “but” is positive for a change. Bruno the president said he might be meeting him in between flights and hopefully he can help. It was my final day in Brazil and I decided to contact Bruno which was planned. Marcelo aided me and rang Bruno Coimbra, recognising the name he realised it was Zico’s son. Bruno was very kind and sent on images of Zico signing the jersey. I was ecstatic. I achieved what people and I would have thought was the impossible over an unbelievable six week period. What an experience.

The Jersey will be auctioned for CRY this Friday 22nd August on ebay-

Mike Griffin’s Jersey Auction for CRY

To view Michael’s video of his world Cup experience check out his video.

If you would like to learn about CRY, find out more about our services or participate in a fundraising activity please contact me or check our website.