22/23 September 2012
Later this week I’m heading over to France to do another race. Yep, I’ve reached my limit this year, running and cycling more than ever, but I’m fitting one big race abroad before wrapping up with the Dublin Marathon in October.
What’s the race?
It’s the ITU World Duathlon Championships which are taking place in Nancy, eastern France. First things first, it’s Nancy as in “non-see” rather than “Nancy” as in Sinatra or Reagan. It’s a world championship for elite athletes and “age group” athletes. I’m in the latter group – we don’t get paid and we’re not on drugs. But we all get to wear our nation’s singlet (or one piece tri-suit in this case) and race against people of our age from the 4 corners of the world (shut up Columbus fans!).
So what about the competition?
Well I’ve moved up an age-group to 30-34 year old category, which is bad for me as I’m up against guys in the prime of their fitness, many of whom are top athletes back home. Others I’m hoping are like me, people who like to run or cycle and can’t say no to the chance to represent our country and race against people with very strange names.
Which brings me nicely onto my favourite topic in the preview of the race. That’s 60 guys from 14 countries. Based on last year’s field, I want to re-assess my theory that a good name equals a good time. The winner last year was Javier Collado Torralba. He sounds fast right? The guy who came last didn’t live up to his name: Landon Rush. Double barrelled Latin sounding names have the speed factor. English/Irish names appear to me at least less exotic and likely to win. Although hats off to Cian Delaney from Dublin who came 3rd last year.
Competitor Name Analysis (CNA)
I reckon there are 4 categories of contenders, outlined in my CNA model:
1. Joe Bloggs: the ordinary guys who will do a good job without standing out from the crowd. No showboating or shuffles off the bike expected from Paul Adams (GBR) or Ben Fahy (GBR). David Power (IRL) won’t be doing cartwheels either.
2. Future sportstars: these guys have the names to make it big in professional sport. Maybe not Duathlon, but the likes of Trent Dawson (AUS) sounds like he’d be good at the cricket crease. Hunter Rackley (USA) could make the Ryder Cup and Rafael Toro (ESP) definitely knows what to do in a bullring. Facundo Rodriguez (ARG) could play upfront with Messi and Mark Lawrence (GBR) could probably get a punditry job with the BBC.
3. Magnificent names: variety is the spice of life and hearing some of these names roll of your tongue conjures up all sorts of imagery. Jonathan Tremblay (CAN) sounds like you wouldn’t mess with him. Same with Daniel Mannweiler (GER) who might bring his rothweiler with him. Peter Flick (IRL) could be an editor’s nightmare if a typo of “u” instead of “li” led to an unprintable headline “Fuck flies in France”. Machael Meunier (FRA) has alliteration going on, but could be a commentator’s nightmare tongue twister.
4. Celebs: these guys are destined to be famous. Dany Papi (LUX) could be an RnB rapper or a DJ. Jim Reuther (USA) sounds so authoritive he could take over the CNN newsroom. But my favourite is Yosuke Kobayashi (JPN) – a 100% Japanese name who’s namesake is a world record holder in hot dog eating.
So that’s the field – hard to call alright. Team GB is the biggest, so they’ll hunt in packs. The Boys in Green will be easy to spot, but the French team won’t want to be beaten on home turf. Roll on next weekend. It’s down to shiny bikes and colourful runners now.
Men AG 30-34 starts on Sunday at 2pm CET