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Middle-aged, middle-weight, mother of 3 on mad marathon mission
Middle-aged, middle-weight, mother of 3 on mad marathon mission
When I started this blog, it was to track my progress from an occasional kayaker to taking on the Devizes to Westminster non stop 125 race. Little did I know that would start me on a long distance obsession which has resulted in my completing the 30th Marathon des Sables. It has been a strange and sometimes painful ... but always wonderfully challenging journey

This is my occasional account of a middle-age mother's attempt to take on things which are really quite beyond her.

Another young athlete gone, too too young.

crawlingkiwiby crawlingkiwiAug 4th 2011
The news this week was just as I expected when i heard Will was missing. After 25 hours, the 17 year olds body was found, following his capsize during a run-of-the-mill race in Richmond, on Sunday.

The newspapers published a load of rubbish in the initial few hours, but I save my particular vitriol for the Dialy Mail who invented disgusting quotes from fabricated witnesses (along the lines of 'canoeists rowed over the body, it made me sick'). Friends saw Will fall in, they paddled round him to check he was ok - as a strong paddler and swimmer, he laughed them off and he swam to the edge, where he was seen safely standing. A short time later another friend found his canoe floating upside down, with his paddles next to it. He looked for the missing canoeist, asked the near-by ferry operator to call for immediate help, and paddled pack with the empty boat.

The boy suffered from epilepsy. He always paddled with a buoyancy aid, except for that day. We don't know why he took it off, probably it was the heat. It was a bad decision for which he paid the ultimate price. He didn't die because of water conditions, he died because he had a seizure - at least there is a small amount of comfort that he probably knew nothing of what was happening.

The canoeing world is devastated. This was an extremely popular boy from a small club in Tonbridge, Kent - he had completed and supported on the DW, he had paddled all the Waterside races, and was supremely clever. He was also a good friend of my daughter, with only 4 days between them in age. Will was to have completed the DW in 2012 (juniors do the 125 miles over 4 days), my daughter (her health permitting) will be taking his place in the K2 and all the Tonbridge paddlers will be raising money for an epilepsy charity, as will I.

No matter what sport you do - please do it safely: wear the helmet, swim near people, take care. And enjoy each and every day.
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