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David and Chris avatar
David and Chris

The Not-sure-why Triathlon Challenge

Fundraising for St Margaret's Somerset Hospice

raised by 46 supporters
  • Team members: Dave Manley and Chris Baker
  • Event: Warwick Triathlon

St Margaret's Somerset Hospice

We provide free hospice care in Somerset to over 3,800 people each year

Charity Registration No. 279473


Thank you for visiting the fundraising page of Dave Manley and Chris Baker.  We both sit in front of computers for a living, have the associated levels of fitness and are as surprised as anyone that we find ourselves attempting a triathlon.  We can't remember the exact chronology of events, but it went something along the lines of; half joking challenge, half joking acceptance, the realisation that none of us can back out.  We now find ourselves a few months away from 400 metres in the pool, 20 kilometres on the bike and a 5 kilometre run to finish.

Initial complacency has been well and truly banished and the realities of the training are sinking in fast.  We have decided that we would like someone to benefit from our pain and as such, have created this page.

St Margaret's Somerset Hospice is a local charity committed to providing specialist palliative care, advice, support and respite to patients and their families living in Somerset and parts of neighbouring areas. Care is available for those who have a terminal or life limiting illness, for example cancer, motor neurone disease and chronic lung disease.  They were of great comfort  to Chris's cousin Peter who died of cancer and also provided family and friends with good support at a difficult time.

Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to sponsor us: St Margarets Somerset Hospice will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you.

Thank you for your support,

Dave and Chris

Below follows a diary of our training. Dave is in Red, Chris in Blue.

18th September
We both finished, both beat our target times, and can look back and say we are glad we did it.  Enormous thanks to everyone who sponsored us and those who kept us motivated along the way
For me, 1hour 24minutes and 46 seconds of very hard work, but when I look at the unbelievable amount we raised, extremely worthwhile hard work.  This week has been living the dream.  Breakfast of champions, chips and beer for tea and some footy thrown in too.  A week and a bit on, I have just had a swim again.  Considerably slower than the big day, but given the past week of eating, it could have been worse.  Thanks to those who have suggested things for my next challenge, but I'm OK for the minute thanks.

9th September
It's all over!  We came, we saw, (we panicked) and we conquered.  Official results are still not in but if our own watches are to be believed we both beat our target of 90 minutes.  I did about 1:28 and Chris around 2-3 mins quicker.  We'll both update later.

7th September
My bike is back and seems cured.  Felt good on the test ride I gave it.  Went out on a training run similar to the course on the day (some grass/some pavement) and 24:30 was a decent time.  Felt I paced it quite well and could have sped up in the last kilometre if I'd needed too.
As Chris says we're both trying to keep nerves in check and its the amount we've raised thanks to your generosity that will help us force ourselves through it.   I can't believe we have only 2 days to go but it's true.  It all became very real when the start times were published on the organisers website and the names Manley David and Baker Christopher appear on the list.  I'm off at 09:08 and Chris at 09:24 so chances are, barring any problems, we shouldn't see each other until the end.  Next entry will probably be after the event!!!!

4th September
Last couple of training sessions now.  Swam today and have kept going faster on my last 4 swims so feeling pretty good about that.  Need to get out on the bike tomorrow and give it a last check over to make sure it's in good condition for Sunday.  Tomorrow should be a full distance run, but then that's about it, just get on the pasta and try and stay calm.
Thanks again to everyone who has sponsored us.  Total amount raised is far more than we ever believed it would or could be and  I think we will both do whatever we have to do to drag ourselves over the line.

1st September
Been a hard few days and I don't want to ache like this again until Sunday afternoon.  Yesterday did a 5K run in the morning before work, did another swim albeit slower than Wednesday and the another 5K in the evening. This morning Chris and I arranged to do a bike and run session around his route so I took my bike up there and we set off.  Problem was he left me for dead after about 5K as i felt strangely sluggish.  However I pushed on despite a strange squeak on my bike and managed to get back about 6 minutes behind him.  We went out for a run with Chris pacing me due to my lack of road running practice.  I was in agony with my calves burning but Chris helped me through it so I managed to avoid slowing to a walk.  Was surprised to see the time at around 25mins for the 5K when we finished.
We got back and checked my bike out only to find the reason for my struggle was that part of the rear derailleur was completely bent out of shape and the chain going around it all wrong.  Bike is now in for repair and it appears that the gears were probably faulty from the start and that its just been steadily getting worse.  Hopefully it will be all sorted before next week!  Will taper my training this week with just  a couple of swim sessions, couple of slow runs and a light training ride to check on the bike.

31st August
After good pool times earlier in the week, I allowed myself a rest day yesterday.  Swimming again today, then hopefully some back to back bike and run sessions on the weekend.  After that, I just have to keep things ticking over next week, then hit the pasta.  Been off the beer for a while now, so really looking forward to a refreshing one next Sunday.

29th August
Big big thanks to all our sponsors.  Money has been rushing in during the last few days.  I've done 2 swims in the last two days as planned and today set a 400m PB of 10:53.  Chris did a 9:09 as well which is an excellent time. 

28th August
Managed a few runs and one bike session over the bank holiday.  Did the swim in a reasonable time at lunchtime and I'm hoping I can manage similar on the day.  Nerves starting to kick in a bit now, but just need to keep training and praying for reasonable weather on the big day.

27th August
Thought I'd better write a weekly update. Unlike Chris I haven't been able to get any swims in during the week but have been able to clock up a few runs and bikes.  On Monday I did a mile PB and then a long overdue bike ride on Wednesday,  24K bike ride in 62 minutes ( on a route that on paper is much harder than the race route.  Just for fun as well I started the ride practicing a T1 transition - I stood in the shower in just my trishorts and when suitable soaked I jumped out and with a quick change into my gear I was on the bike and going in around 2 minutes.
On the Thursday I knocked out a 25 minute 5K run with totally even pace.  Friday was a rest day prior to the first game of the football season - ended up playing 90minutes on the right wing and did fine but disaster struck - I've picked up a stupid blister!  Decided to test out said blister on Sunday and ran a solid 6K in 32 minutes.  Ran a slow 4K and picked it up into the last 1000m and ended up feeling so good for it I did an extra kilometre for good luck!  I worry about the blister when I get onto the road though.
And so onto today - I decided to head through Newport and down the A48 and see where I ended up.  31K and 73 minutes later I arrived at The Northgate pub in Caerwent and Kathryn came to meet me.  A couple of much needed drinks later we put the bike on the car and drove back home.  That  route ( has a couple of hard climbs and I felt quite fresh upon finishing.  Sitting down might be fun in the morning though!  Really must do some swimming - going to aim for 3 sessions this week.

24th August
Two reasonable swims in two days, so quite happy with that.  Will do some running and cycling over the bank holiday, but conscious that we only have one week left to improve as the following week will just be preparation for the event.  Panicking is the wrong word, but only just.

23rd August
Finally moved house last Friday, but disruption has meant I haven't trained as much as I would have liked.  Managed a few bike rides, but need some back to back bike and run sessions and as much swimming as I can manage to squeeze in.  It's all a bit close now.

20th August
Weather hasn't improved so I've just been running again.  Have managed to clock up a few good miles.  Had an annoying 5K in which I was on for a PB only for my running machine to overheat and cut out at 3.2K.  Paused my workout and after a 5 minute delay for it to cool down I hammered at the final 1.8K and had a Nike+ time of 22:35!  This was obviously aided by the break so I'm not counting it as any sort of time.  Last night I ran a 45minute timed session and finished with 8.2K under my belt.

15th August
I've been working away so much over the last week that training has been hard to fit in but what I have done has been good.  Worked a 7am till 2am day on Saturday followed by another 9 hours on the Sunday but still managed to squeeze in a 5K at the hotel gym in the Saturday lunch break.  Nearly got taken out by a car while cycling on Monday but managed to come through unscathed.

Need to get in a few more swims but think I'm going to have to settle on a time around 11 minutes but work on getting my biking improved.  Could do with going on some longer distance rides so that the 20K becomes less daunting.  May try to get my bike to some scenic places where I won't be thinking so much about the speed and time and just enjoying the experience.

14th August
Motivation low due to poor weather and trying to pack the house ready to move on Friday, but trying hard to get myself training.  Went for an extended bike ride last Thursday which was nearly double what I have been doing.  This was good training and I managed a reasonable time, but the aftermath left me unable to train for two days, so wasn't the best choice.  Have run full distance twice since, concentrating on not stopping and forcing myself through it.  Times were not great, but the training to my mental resolve was probably the most beneficial.  Swimming today, that mental preparation could come in handy again.

2nd August
A good week of training so far, have done at least one discipline every day.  Did the swim in just over 10 minutes yesterday and just under 10 today.  I am finishing it slower than I am starting, so there is still some work to do on stamina, but I am happy with progress so far.  I am still concerned that my bike times do not seem to be improving, but there's still a few weeks to sort it out.

30th July
Another bad weekend.  Tried to do something on Saturday but had nothing in the tank.  Am actually getting a bit worried now as if I can't get training soon I might almost be starting from scratch. Hoping to feel better soon.
26th July
Training has kinda gone to pot for me the last week and a half.  Have been working away a bit and other things have come up and then was quite ill for a couple of days.  Need to really pick it up a bit this coming weekend.  Glad to see our sponsors have really been getting behind us - this as much as anything else will motivate me to the task at hand.  Thanks all.
22nd July
My bike woes continue.  The bike shop that fitted my new tyres appear to have also broken my cycle computer.  It will switch on, but won't register anything when on the bike.  That was annoying, but nothing compared to finding that my handlebars had been loosened.  The bike felt weird to start with, but by a mile or so out (guessing, computer knackered) it was really bad and I had to turn back and be very careful with it.  The worst came a few hundred yards from home, when the handlebars span right round so I couldn't reach the brakes when I needed them just before a junction.  I came off the bike, and broke my sunglasses in the process.  Then I had to push it up the hill to get home.  Very much less than happy.

20th July
As you may now, Dave has been struggling with a toe problem and hasn't been able to swim or push training too hard this week.  Showing remarkable sensitivity, I have eased back on my own training so as to not gain to much of an advantage.  I have swum and done some running this week, so to even things up, I've celebrated my birthday with a fried brekkie of champions, some donuts and will be enjoying a few beers later on.
To aid my cycling I have had some thinner slicker tyres fitted to my bike and put some of those toe clip things on, both of which should help me go a bit faster and use a little less energy.  As a result, my bike has covered record distances in record times.  Tomorrow or Sunday, I may even take it out of the car and ride it. 

16th July
Managed another back to back bike and run, though both times were about a minute slower than the session on Wednesday.  The run contained a few more stops due to fatigue in the legs and I think that the fact that it was hotter and windier, coupled with extra traffic contributed to the slower times.  Sceptics may point to the few points of Strongbow and a bag of chips on the way home on Friday, but I'm definitely thinking it was the other factors.  Must swim this week.

14th July
Following Chris' excellent time on Wednesday evening I felt pressured into picking up the training.  Ran 6K on Thursday night with a time of 24:40 PB for the last 5K (including a PB for the mile too).  Now as I type I am recovering from my first good go at near full distance.  Did a 42 minute 18K cycle and a 25 minute 5K to follow.  To get here with 8 weeks still to go is a great sign.

13th July
As Dave says, had a good session on Wendesday, with two disciplines at good distance in a good time.  Found it quite draining, but the hardest bit was definitely mental.  Persuading myself to keep going rather than stop for a quick walk was a big challenge.  Will try another session on Saturday to make sure this wasn't a fluke, then I need to get back to the swimming next week.

12th July
Have managed to raise a bit more money offline thanks to sponsor forms provided by the Hospice which I will add onto the total soon.  Chris managed to do a 16K bike and 5K run in around 67 minutes which added onto a swim should give him a good time.  The question for me is whether I can now catch him on the bike with him doing that sort of time - not that this is a race or either of us really wants to beat the other. Honest.

10th July
Have had a steady few weeks just getting on with it.  Haven't done any really good times or had any major problems.  I have been running about 1.4K after each bike ride to get my legs used to the transition.  On the weekend I cycled two lots of 4 1/2 miles seperated by a few hours, then after the second one, gave myself ten minutes and did a 5K run on the road in about half an hour.  Fairly happy but need to push things a bit harder.  Swimming also needs to improve as, although my times are acceptable,  I have not really improved in any way over the last fortnight.

3rd July
It's been a busy few days of training.  Did a 5K on Friday and followed it up with my first ever 10K on Sunday during which I managed to beat my 5K PB.  Then a rest day Monday before todays biggest day of training yet.  This morning I did around 11 minutes in the pool for 400m (and an additional 300 for luck).  However Chris completed his 400m 3 lengths ahead of me so this pushed me into getting myself out on the bike this evening.  Did 18K in around 45 minutes and then straight onto a 10:06 2K run.  Almost feel like a triathlete!

29th June
Entries are in - Chris and I are now official entrants of the 2007 Warwick Triathlon.

28th June
Swam 8 lengths straight off and felt good but in trying to finish the remainder had a few problems breathing and got quite wheezy - hope I'm not coming down with anything.  Total time was 12 minutes which is pretty good though although Chris managed to do 16 in ten minutes non-stop by throwing in a few 'rest' lengths of breast stroke.

26th June
Did my first full 20K cycle and it took me 58 minutes.  It was nice to go the whole distance, but had hoped to be a lot quicker and in a lot less pain, so there is a massive improvement needed.  5K run time is coming down, but there's no way I could get anywhere near it after having done the bike first.
Swam 4x100m with 90 second breaks - came in at 15 minutes which is certainly getting there.  Felt quite fresh after it too.

25th June
It's my birthday and training has suffered slightly because of it.  Went for my first cycle ride and didn't get very far.  Couldn't work out the gears!  How was I to know they were hidden in the brakes.  Did another 5K but struggled for it.  However I did get a "My first triathlon" book and a Nike+ as a present so these should help.  Kathryn and I got engaged so there's more reason now for me to keep going and shed the pounds.

21st June
This week saw some swimming improvement.  Managed the 400m swim in four batches of 100.  Just.  Haven't done any cycling due to not having pedals but bike is now back on the road and performance should improve now that I'm 40 pounds lighter for the privilege.  Did the 5k today in 26 minutes and 40 seconds

19th June
Bought my bike - or the "carbon fibre cheat machine" as Chris has deemed it.  I collect it tomorrow.  Have swum the last two days and seen dramatic improvement.  Met the 4 lots of 4 challenge a week ahead of schedule and then did an extra 200 for luck.
17th June
After a day off yesterday, I'm ready to go again.  I set off on a bike ride and my pedals broke a mile and a half in.  Then it rained a lot.  The word omen springs to mind.
Happier than yesterday - I'd tried to treadmill 5k at an even 7mph - lasted about 10 minutes at this pace and came in at 30 minutes.  Today I cut it back to 6.5mph and with a sprint finish came in around 28 mins.
15th June
5 days into training.  I am having trouble negotiating stairs, I fear I may be overdoing it. 

14th June
Training has been restricted by my blister so I've been swimming only.  Finding it hard to put 3 lengths together so quite how I can do 16 I don't know.  Challenge is to manage 4 lots of 4 lengths in a fortnight.

11th June
I've done my first on the road 5K for years and what do you know, I've picked up a blister.  Putting it down to not wearing trainers with the correct cushioning for my style of running.  That said it was in a faster time than I'd have thought possible

8th June
I do believe we are actually going to give this a go.

5th June
Challenge Chris to a sprint Triathlon. Surely he won't accept.