Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run By Andy Holgate
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“My brain and mouth were obviously having communication problems because in reality what I said was, ”Ah go on then, I’ve got three weeks to train, I’ll do it.”
It was like an out of body experience watching my enthusiastic maverick self agree to something that my sensible self would have run a mile from.”
It’s difficult not to feel one’s sense of amity with author Andy Holgate start to grow after he’s delivered these brief sentences. Though we’re fully aware of what’s coming, Holgate’s confirmation that he will compete in the Cockerham Sprint Triathlon gets Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run off to a flier and prepares the reader for a thoroughly engaging journey.
Like so many of us, Andy Holgate was a lapsed runner who required the combination of a challenge and a change of circumstance to display a formidable willpower. It was a mix that took him from overweight jogger who went running in the dark because “I looked like the Michelin man” to a guy who lost a stone in the space of a year and who, within 18 months, had completed five triathlons, a half marathon and ‘The Big Woody’, a 13-hour triathlon which finished with him running a marathon in 3 hours 41 minutes.
Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run is an inspirational story of a frustrated, unfit man careering towards sedentary middle age who accepts a simple challenge that changes his life. Holgate is particularly good at describing the sense of satisfaction amateur athletes feel when they excel themselves and acknowledging the raw beauty of the often rugged countryside where he and his fellow triathletes compete.
Granted, he’s unimpressed when he watches a cow urinate into the ‘black expanse’ of a gravel pit across which he will swim in the Cockerham’s opening leg (“Don’t forget to keep your mouth closed,” his mate tells him), but the sense of fulfilment he feels after finishing The Big Woody is conveyed with the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning.
“The Woody was where four friends found out who they really were,” he writes. “We would forever be bonded by what we put ourselves through that day.”
If you’re looking for an inspirational read to help you rediscover your inner athlete, then buy this outstanding book.
We’ve teamed up with Sports Book of the Month & have a signed copy of Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run to give away.
To win this week’s sports book, go to their website ( www.sportsbookofthemonth.com ) and answer the following question:
Who is the current British male triathlon champion?