On Saturday I woke to the heartbreaking news that my coach, Craig Percival, had died of a heart attack, following post-surgery complications.
Craig has accompanied my triathlon journey for the last 16 months, has been my main source of inspiration, support and has brought out the best in me for every race and every training meter I swam, biked and ran. He was a truly exceptional man who touched so many lives with his generosity and the undivided attention and care he gave to others.
He helped me achieve a bunch of sporting goals and we had our sights set on many more for the new year. I don’t yet know how to do it without him, but I’m determined to try, because that’s what he would have wanted.
Based on this sad occasion, I reflected on the last year of training and racing and used my training data to visualize the highlights. Because that’s what I do.
And here are some additional words from me…
Craig, there are no words to describe the loss your passing means to your family, friends and all of us who have known you. My heart goes out to Lindell, the kids and your parents.
You are one of the most inspirational, generous, uplifting and humble people I have ever met.
I am proud to have had you as my coach. You have not only transformed me into an athlete, but your coaching and mentoring has helped me far beyond any pool lanes, cycle paths and running tracks.
Working with you for the last 16 months has been an honour and you helped me achieve so many things along the way.
We had big plans for 2017: Age Group Nationals, European and World Championships in Sprint Triathlon, maybe a crack at Olympic Distance.
This morning I was ready to throw in the towel and give up on those dreams. But I think you would have wanted me to continue, to chase them, to train slow and race fast and to toe the line at those big events, representing my country.
And I will. I will train hard and I will race in your memory, remembering your words of wisdom and thinking of your encouragement that always helped get me mentally ready for race day.
Today the world lost one its best. You were and always will be a true hero for me, someone whom I look up to and who has made this world a better place.
Rest in Peace, and see you on the road…