Weblog: A personal view from the William Hill PR director
Ironman odyssey runs on to Ascot with 12-1 Frankel
With the creation of the Eurostar, it is no longer a giant leap from Paris to Wimbledon, but I have to say, it was a slightly surreal feeling to have been working in Paris on Sunday, and then at Plough Lane Tuesday night for the final of the William Hill St Leger.
Life, and work, has been a bit of a ‘flying by the sea of my pants’ joblately, so I will admit to being somewhat underprepared for the night’s card and my interview with Don ‘Gary’ Newbon live on Sky. Despite not being the most organised of types I do like to prep hard for TV and any writing work I undertake. The process is soothing if you are feeling even remotely edgy about an interview, and there is much comfort in refreshing the knowledge you know is already firmly ensconced within your grey matter. It’s what my Dad refers to as ‘doing my card’. The phrase rang around the house when we were small and it usually involved Dad sitting at our huge pine kitchen table with the Sporting Life and studying. Some traditions get passed down, and even my friends at Hills now understand the expression!
Although not quite fully up-to-speed when I arrived at Wimbledon, I had seen enough to know that it was a great punting card, and the betting masses certainly agreed with me, with the office beset with business as if it were Derby final night.
Without the shadow of Football to contend with, greyhound racing turnover was akin to one of the biggest nights of the year for turnover with a whole host of big bets being laid. Sadly, the results didn’t go in our favour, with only the defeats of Jimmy Lollie and Blue Bee really going our way. It just goes to show the appeal that greyhound racing still has.
One result that really had the traders dancing the Pas de Deux along the corridors of William Hill Towers was the victory for Danedream in last weekend’s Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe. The guys in the office had a fair amount of regard for the German filly and so strived to keep her onside since her supplementation a few days prior. As a result, we got a result, and that should now hopefully coast us through until after Champions’ Day and perhaps keep momentum going until the Flat season proper draws to an end.
I’m very much looking forward to Champions’ Day at Ascot. Despite only being 29 and 14 months, I’ve seen a lot of racing in my years, and I know it takes something really special for me to be awestruck. Frankel did that this year, and turned an interesting Flat season into a spectacular one. Also, thanks to an eagle-eyed friend, some months ago I availed myself to a bit of 12-1 for him to go unbeaten through the 2011 season. I’m hoping I’ll be drawing in 10 days’ time!
I have been told by the Racing Post that I should tell you about my big challenge for 2011, which I completed just under a month ago, in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Some of you might remember me from my slightly rounder days, and a year or so ago, after returning to fitness, I became a triathlete. Somewhat madly, having fallen in love with the sport, I decided to tackle an Ironman triathlon. I haven’t really mentioned iton here. I felt like a bit of an arse to be honest, it sounds fairly boastful, and there were many times when I was injured, tired, or generally just a bit whingey, when I thought I’d never actually manage to cross the line.
But on 11th September 2011 I became an Ironman. In order to do this I had to swim 2.4 miles in the sea, cycle 112-miles over hilly Welsh roads, and then run a full 26.2 mile marathon to finish – in under the cut-off time of 17 hours. It didn’t all go to plan, the race took longer than I hoped due to adverse weather, I became very ill on the run after epically getting my nutrition wrong, but I did it.
It was an incredible weekend, the Welsh support drove you to keep on lifting your very tired legs and keep going, and I cannot even do justice to the beauty of the Pembrokeshire coastline.
It seems a long way from two years ago and thanks to some incredible training friends who supported me, my amazingly patient family and work colleagues, plus one other very special person, I achieved my challenge.
I am not remotely wise, and as a result I find insight in the words’ of others.
Confucius said: ‘’One who wants to do something will find a way; one who doesn’t will find an excuse.’’ Pretty shrewd guy that Confucius.
Steve Nash pic from Wimbledon: http://tinyurl.com/6zorslr