Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Why the Outlaw?

A recent Twitter exchange with GB canoeist Mark Proctor ( inspired me to write this post.

Why the Outlaw? This is something people ask me all the time so I thought I'd write a warts and all post as to how and why I made the decision. It will not pull any punches and if it inspires anyone to pursue something they thought impossible, then I will be happy.

Mark referred to me as a "crazy bugger" and to be honest a lot of people share similar thoughts.

Lets give you a history of my life in the previous 31 years, 6 months, 28 days.

At about the age of eight I had my tonsils out and this caused me to fill out almost overnight. I used to be as thin as a rake before this. I have no idea if the two were connected but they occurred at the same time.

Fast forward five to six years and I find myself at Secondary School and lo and behold because of my size, I was bullied both mentally and physically. Outside of school I had a good bunch of friends but in school, nothing could be further from the truth. I detested it. I didn't feel I belonged. It was torture I dreaded the hours between 9am and 4pm and couldn't wait to finish school where I could do the things I enjoyed such as swimming, riding my bike and playing football. Running was one of the other things I detested about school because I was forced to do it and given my size I was awful at it.

Fast forward another 5 or 6 years and I found myself at Leeds University and at the freshers fair  in my second year I was asked to play for the various rugby clubs, I think this had something with the fact I was 15 stone and 5 foot 11 inches, but I don't like pain as I had enough of that (emotional and physical) during my jail sentence that was Secondary School. Instead I decided on playing Ultimate Frisbee and this was a wonderful decision, I met a great bunch of people and really enjoyed playing frisbee including the exercise and even the running.

This was the last formative exercise I did and that finished in 2002 when I graduated, I had a brief foray into Ultimate Frisbee again during the summer of 2006 but work commitments cut this short.

Anyway we fast forward to January 2012 and the decision that changed my life.

Here I was at 30 years 6 months and three days old,  an obese, smoking, drinking, fast food eating couch potato. In fact I'm quite sure if you looked couch potato up in the dictionary, you would see my ugly mug grinning back at you. I decided to give up smoking as I hated it.  This was the best decision I have ever made. 

I then followed this up with the decision to do a triathlon. Given my previous swimming and cycling experience, I thought it was a good idea. I even reasoned with my wife that I was never going to do a marathon as I hated running.

Fast forward nine months and I had completed my second triathlon ever, my A race for 2012 and the reason I punished myself persistently for. In the process I raised £1025 for Cancer Research by completing the London Triathlon.

It turned out that the triathlon bug had bitten me more than I ever appreciated as as soon as I had finished I was debating what to do next.

A year ago I said I would never run a marathon but I sit tapping at my computer with the Outlaw looming in 19 weeks and 4 days. The Outlaw for the uninitiated amongst you is a triathlon which must be completed in 17 hours consisting of

  • 2.4 mile swim
  • 112 mile cycle
  • and a 26.2 mile run aka the marathon I said I would never run

Back to the original question.

Why the Outlaw?


  • Because I'm a determined sod
  • Because I have a new lease of life following my decision to give up smoking
  • Because I am thrilled by the challenge
And Most Importantly
Thanks for reading, sorry I have come across as self centred but I needed to explain my reasons for putting me through a potential 17 hours of pain where I will strip myself to the barest most raw state I think I will have ever known.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "Because I can!"

    Exactly the reason why I am doing it!

    That a a bit determined....