Nick and co at the Para-Tri Triathlon

nick triathlon 284

Where do I start? It has been the most amazing, incredible, glorious day. The road through Little Kimble had marked a turning point for my son and we drove through the sleepy village with a red kite watching from its perch in a tree beside the road. Any other day I would have stopped and grabbed the camera… today, though, even the kites would wait.

A red kire watches over the event

A red kite watches over the event

We had left in good time, so we had taken a short detour via the route Nick had taken the first day he got the trike… and his first real taste of freedom in six years. A month later and we were on our way to the Paralympic venue of Dorney Lake, just outside Windsor.

Calm before the storm...

Calm before the storm…

Once there we headed to the registration tent and I finally got to meet the rest of the team properly. Heather Lloyd is Nick’s hydrotherapist and Eva Sobonova his physiotherapist at the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital… and this madness had been their idea. Heather would start the race with a 750m lake swim, Nick would ride the second leg… a 20 km course… and Eva would be running the 5km final leg of the Para-Tri relay.

Nikki Mitchell of the BBC, Nick, Eva and Heather

Nikki Mitchell of the BBC, Nick, Eva and Heather

We located Zoe, who had kindly taken delivery of Nick’s trike the day before and headed over to the boathouse to collect his wheels. We’d gone perhaps twenty yards before it started…. “I’m from the BBC, “ … “I saw you on TV!” …”You’re Nick…” “ They’ve just been talking about you on the radio…” It was a litany that was to follow him all day as assiduously as the cameras.

No excuses...

No excuses…

They were talking about Nick and his campaign on the tannoy. Time for a photo-shoot and some essential adjustments… while the guys checked the tyres, Nick dealt with his sunglasses… then the numbers were on and it was time for the team to go into the transition area for the briefing.

Briefing

Briefing

I watched from behind the barriers… it seemed entirely surreal to see my son and a gold medallist Paralympian against the iconic rings of the Olympic games, knowing that Nick would soon be heading over that bridge.

nick triathlon 100

Heather was first out. 750m doesn’t sound much… till you look at the course and actually see the distance involved, with no lanes, no smart tiles… just a lake full of determined swimmers, weeds, boats and arms. We watched, picking out the one orange cap amid the many… with me blessing the long lens of my camera once again as the tiny points of colour receded into the distance.

Heather's 750m lake swim

Heather’s 750m lake swim

Nick and his team had developed a small crowd of supporters to cheer the them on… from friends and family members to the parents of one of Nick’s old friends. My eyes were torn between trying to watch Nick and watching Heather as she entered the final stages of the swim.

Familiar face with a long lens

Familiar face with a long lens

A cheer and applause as she ran up from the lake to pass the timing device to Nick… and while Eva hugged a soggy Heather, Nick was off. My son… over the bridge with the Olympic rings…

Changeover

Changeover

Want me to tell you how I felt as I watched him ride off into the distance? I can’t… Nick said it best perhaps, a little later. He nodded sagely as we watched the replay of the images I had just uploaded for him… “The pride is strong in this one…”

Soggy hugs as Nick sets off

Soggy hugs as Nick sets off

I knew each of the four laps of the course would take around 15 minutes. I spotted the distinctive bright yellow of his shirt in the distance and saw him speeding down the straight to the start of the second lap, right on a very tight bend. Then my heart lurched…

Breathe...

Breathe…

I was grateful for the long lens again… heaving a sigh of relief as the marshals righted his upturned bike and I saw Nick set off again. Eva ran over to tell me he was okay… I watched the yellow speck till it was out of sight, then walked away to find a quiet corner to calm down…

Breathing again...

Breathing again…

The next three laps were completed in good time and Eva took up her place, ready to start the 5km run as Nick bowled back into the transition area. By this time I was bouncing! Of course, I wasn’t allowed in there… I could see the BBC reporter with him, Heather… other people… “Go ask…” said one of the party… I needed no more encouragement. “Do you think I could go through to see my son?” I asked the member of staff on the gate. “Oh, you mean Nick…” Does everyone know my son?!

20km later...

20km later…

I still had to wait while the medics checked him and the reporter and cameras were done… A few minor grazes, no more. Both to Nick and the trike. I wanted a hug. “You’ll get drenched!” He was right. I did. I didn’t care.

No problem...

No problem…

Over to the finish line to wait for Eva. We didn’t have long to wait! Then hugs all round for the team… a kidnapped banana raised in triumph… more photographs…a brief chat with another Paralympian who wanted to meet Nick… and the race was over. We could breathe again.

Whoo-hoo!

Whoo-hoo!

It had been incredible, start to finish. A huge event, with many participants. I would like to know all their stories… to talk to them, share them… There is a shared spark of something extraordinary in all of them. Nick does not call it courage… just living with what ‘is’ … but doing so with passion. Eva said the same of her work and I can attest to the difference that passion makes.

From start to finish...

From start to finish…

These, it seemed, were all passionate people and from that depth of being, they had found focus, direction and an indefinable quality that is fierce and knows joy, but is quiet and doesn’t scream its triumphs. ‘Awesome’ is an overused word these days. Here, it applied perfectly.

Awesomeness

Awesomeness

Had that been the end of the day, it would have been enough. Wind down with ice cream, face painting and burgers…obviously in that order… talk a bit… cool off… then of course, what would you do after completing a triathlon? You would obviously find a climbing wall… Minutes later the team was harnessed and ready… all three of them.

By way of relaxation?

Onwards…

The Health and Safety devotees who had once berated Nick for tackling stairs with more than adequate help would have had heart failure. I just grinned like an idiot and grabbed the camera…

nick triathlon 336

and upwards..

By the time they had done, there really was only one thing on their mind… and we headed over to the massage tent. Nick waited in the sun while the girls were worked over, then melted into the massage table while two therapists took a leg each…

That's more like it...

That’s more like it…

That wasn’t the end of it either. I’d done okay up to that point, apart from the one blip when Nick had turned the trike and taken out the cameraman. “We should have got a photo of us all standing together,” said Heather. So we waited for Eva and her gorgeous daughter to come back from their bike ride and we got those pictures… then the girls and Nick walked from the field of victory together.

Triumph

Triumph

I went to get the car before I cracked completely. I may as well have not bothered… seeing the three of them standing together waiting for me just did it, and as I hugged Eva and Heather, I was a soggy mess. But that’s okay too. Some tears are just liquid joy.

:)

🙂

On the way home, the BBC Online article went live. Once home we again had to wait for the iPlayer to watch this evening’s BBC news feature about the Para-Tri event… the link is here for those who can watch it. The BBC will send me the clips at some point and I will post them.

Before...

Before…

We also checked the total on the campaign. Nick chose to raise awareness and funds for the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum that provides crucial information and support for all those affected by brain injury, whether traumatic or caused by illness. The total, as I write, stands at an incredible £2,427. The campaign is still open for another three days to allow final donations to be made. Even so, this total is simply amazing. Thank you!

...and after

…and after

The support that has been shown is beyond words. Thank you seems such a small way of expressing what it means and what a difference it can make, both to Nick’s chosen charity and to my son himself. So, what next? Well, Nick seems to have designs on the London to Brighton bike ride…

Happy hobbit and son

Happy hobbit and son

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in Brain injury, Motherhood, Nick Verron, Photography, Surviving brain injury and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

177 Responses to Nick and co at the Para-Tri Triathlon

  1. What a fantastic day!! Thanks so much for sharing Nick’s triumph!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ali Isaac says:

    Wow what a great day! So lovely to be able to see it all in your photos. Well done, Nick and co, you are amazing! And so nice to see a smile on Nick’s face. Xxx

    Like

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Wow, I agree, so awesome! The excitement has built for days, no wonder you cracked a little – my heart was feeling wobbly just reading your post. 😉 And what great weather they had, probably a tad too warm in the sun, I expect the only one who didn’t mind was Heather! A little scary about his spill, but he learned from it I expect, just testing the limits! So proud you all must be – how’s Nick taking his fame? All in a day’s work, I expect. 🙂

    Like

  4. Mary Smith says:

    Oh, I’m so glad you posted tonight and we didn’t have to wait until tomorrow. My eyes started filling when you described Nick going over the bridge with the Olympic rings. I can’t begin to imagine how you felt when the trilke went over. Off to share this now. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

    Like

  5. Congratulations to you all! Happy day! So thrilled for your triumphs! ❤

    Like

  6. Green Embers says:

    This is such a great read. So very nice. 🙂

    Like

  7. Val Boyko says:

    What an amazing day! Liquid joy indeed 🙂
    Well done Nick!!

    Like

  8. My heart was beating like crazy as I read this! Well done, Team Nick!
    Bravo, bravo, and a thousand times. BRAVO!

    Like

  9. Awesomeness. And tears of liquid joy. That wraps it up. Fabulous,Sue. ☺

    Like

  10. ksbeth says:

    what a huge victory and incredible day!

    Like

  11. blondieaka says:

    Very Well done Nick and Co…..You Rock……onwards and upwards for you young man…..:) A great achievement and a relief for mum 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. davidprosser says:

    It sounds like an amazing day Sue. All who entered are to be praised but Nick has every right to be proud of himself. He’s come on in leaps and bounds, shown a determination to succeed.that’s simply astounding. As a fundraiser he’s no slouch either, that’s a great target reached.
    You must still be glowing with motherly pride today while I bet Nick is back to planning his campaign for the London to Brighton bike ride.
    xxx Humongous Hugs xxx

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I am, David. Not just for Nick either… watching everyone yesterday just made you proud to be of the same species as those extraordinary people.
      I rather thnk Nick will ache today, though, in places he had forgoten he could 🙂 And he’ll love that 🙂 xxx

      Like

  13. Reblogged this on Stuart France and commented:
    Take off and landing…

    Like

  14. What a lovely post to wake up to on a Monday morning! Congratulations to Nick and the team, Absolutely inspiring 🙂

    Like

  15. Reblogged this on Alison Williams Writing and commented:
    They did it 🙂 A wonderful post to brighten up your Monday.

    Like

  16. Reblogged this on graemecummingdotnet and commented:
    The results are in… Felt like I was on tenterhooks waiting.

    A fantastic achievement – on so many levels.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Congratulations to Nick and the other participants.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. masgautsen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! This post sure started the waterworks for me. What an amazing achievement!

    Like

  19. Reblogged this on Edwina's Episodes and commented:
    What an absolute triumph the day turned out to be for Nick and the girls completing the Triathlon

    Liked by 1 person

  20. raphaela99 says:

    You have made my day!

    Like

  21. What a fantastic day! It looks like it was jam-packed with drama and emotions, especially when Nick tipped his bike over.
    How wonderful that he had so much support there as well from people that had heard of him through the BBC feature.
    I am thrilled for you all that it was such a successful and eventful day (how the hell did they find the energy to climb that wall)? The amount of money raised was phenomenal, and a testament to how much Nick’s story has touched so many.
    Well done Nick, to you and your team. You made your mum proud as well as a fair few bloggers as well!! xx

    Like

  22. This is wonderful Sue you must be so proud. What a day, congratulations to Nick, and to the girls. What an extraordinary young man., so inspiring. Reblogging on Kyrosmagica.

    Like

  23. Reblogged this on kyrosmagica and commented:
    This is so amazing and heart warming, Sue Vincent’s son competed in the UK acquired brain injury forum Para Tri Triathlon. A must see reblog.

    Like

  24. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    NICK, EVA AND HEATHER (and Sue behind the camera) COMPLETED THE EVENT!
    THE DONATIONS ARE OPEN FOR ANOTHER THREE DAYS FOLKS 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Sue Vincent​ ‘s son Nick has overcome life-chaning injuries to not only compete in a Para-Tri Triathlon but to raise awareness for the charity he supports.. I would say for his mum and for Nick the lead up to yesterday and the events themselves are pretty life-changing too in a very good way. Nick is all over the BBC and there are links in the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. olganm says:

    So wonderful, Sue! Many congratulations! As I’m away I can’t always get to watch the videos from the BBC, but so happy! Hope the campaign raises even more money and big hugs and love to all involved!

    Like

  27. Reblogged this on ladyleemanila and commented:
    simply amazing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful day! It’s an awesome achievement and Nick’s story is inspirational. Thank you so much for posting this. Love to all involved!

    Like

  29. jenanita01 says:

    Liquid joy sums up Nick’s (and your) achievement very well…there’s a lot of it around here too… Well done all of you!

    Like

  30. jenanita01 says:

    Reblogged this on Anita & Jaye Dawes and commented:
    Amazing post…bring tissues!

    Like

  31. Ritu says:

    This is just heartwarming Sue! Well done Nick! 😊

    Like

  32. Ritu says:

    Reblogged this on But I Smile Anyway… and commented:
    Update on Nick’s triathlon triumph! It’s truly heartwarming! 😊

    Like

  33. All this is so wonderful Sue, what a great accomplishment for Nick! Very inspiring. Congratulations to Nick and his Team! Thank you for sharing this amazing day and your beautiful excitement with us! Hugs to Nick and you, very proud of his strenght and perseverance lots of love 🙂

    Like

  34. Anonymous says:

    A brilliant read, Sue. Success and happiness so deserved by both of you and Nick’s inspiring
    teammates.

    Like

  35. Reblogged this on Richard Ankers and commented:
    WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT!!!!!!!
    Absolutely amazing. 👍

    Like

  36. What a wonderful day for you and Nick, and what an inspiring read.

    Like

  37. What a smashing post, Sue. Congratulations to you all. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to hear that the day was a huge success. I know how very proud you are of Nick, Heather and Eva and I am so very pleased that Nick has raised so much money for a wonderful cause. I’ve already said how much of an inspiration he is, but he’s also a hero of mine. What Nick has done is incredible and I hope that it persuades many others to follow in his example.

    With my very best wishes to you all.

    Like

  38. Reblogged this on Hugh's Views & News and commented:
    Want to know who my new hero is? Read all about it here. This is an amazing story about an amazing young man.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. One word — astounding!

    Like

  40. What a great story. You must be proud of him and as a fundraiser he is surely an active one!

    Like

  41. So nice you had the best thing everybody wishes to have: a happy day. Bravo!

    Like

  42. Solveig says:

    I don’t know what to say… This looks like as if it was mind blowing amazing! Congratulations to Nick, his team, his proud mom 😉 and to all of the participants!

    Like

  43. Norah says:

    What an awesome story. Congratulations all round! 🙂

    Like

  44. You have me in floods of tears again! I like the sound of the Brighton gig. Nick is my hero too. xx

    Like

  45. Hooray! I am crying! This is…I’m speechless! God Bless You! So wonderful! 🙂

    Like

  46. Helen Jones says:

    Amazing, incredible and glorious indeed! How marvellous and what an achievement – I can only imagine how very proud you must feel xx

    Like

  47. Arts & Rhymes says:

    Beautiful, amazing, heartwarming! Go Nick!
    God Bless You All! ❤

    Like

  48. I was so waiting for this post (as was the rest of the world, it seems). Thanks for all the pictures. I love the one of Nick sitting back with his hands behind his head as he gets interviewed. He looks pretty comfortable in front of the camera! What a fantastic day; your words certainly expressed the joy in your heart. Congratulations to Nick and his awesome team. The pride is strong…

    Like

  49. Sue, fabulous! That money raised is all due to your miraculous son. Well done, Nick and congrats.
    Melinda

    Like

  50. Reblogged this on writerchristophfischer and commented:
    I know this is not a book-ish post but a good cause and an inspiring story: Nick chose to raise awareness and funds for the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum that provides crucial information and support for all those affected by brain injury, whether traumatic or caused by illness. The total stood at an incredible £2,427. The campaign is still open for another two (?) days to allow final donations to be made. Even so, this total is simply amazing. Thank you!

    Like

  51. Reblogged this on Suzie Speaks and commented:
    He did it! Huge congratulations to Nick, and lots of love to Sue – you must be so proud! There’s still time to help Nick in his fundraising…

    Liked by 1 person

  52. TanGental says:

    I’ve just scrolled trough the comments and tossed the thesaurus away as every version of extrafantabulomagoricalness has been used. Phew! Top, just Top. I loved the team work between the four of you (yep, mum is in there, big time) to achieve this. He’s THE MAN, but each of you are pretty good superheroes in my book, Sue. And I so glad the total keeps surging ahead!

    Like

  53. Obi says:

    Nick has made a day in History,the excitement and thrill will still be felt long after the day.No words can adequately convey the feeling of anyone who watched that event or reads your report and commentary on it.I feel a loving happiness for you and for Nick.Felicitation.No doubt the Invisible Worlds watched this event and day with great pleasure too.Memorable, simply unforgettable.What a wonderful world of beauty,of love and companionship was expressed on this day. Blessings come in different ways,who can preempt the the Gods? Through you Sue I thank everybody that was involved in giving this singular gift to us all and humanity.Thank You,Thank You ,Thank You.

    Like

  54. ‘The Amazing Race’ – so beautifully, lovingly, and passionately told…a day for the ‘memory book’… ♥♥♥

    Like

  55. Reblogged this on Barrow Blogs: and commented:
    An incredible journey

    Like

  56. Anonymous says:

    Just catching up on your brilliant achievement, Nick – you must be so proud of yourself – and rightly so. Sue – a day to remember !.Jxx

    Like

  57. Laura says:

    Sounds like you had an amazing day 🙂 I’ve run a couple of 10ks and find them fun but emotionally quite exhausting – you must have been shattered at the end of the day!

    Like

  58. I am so thrilled for you both, that it all went well and then better, and even better. The bad times make the good times even better.

    Like

  59. Wow…I bet your heart was pounding out of your body! Absolutely amazing for both of you 🙂

    Like

  60. socialbridge says:

    Sue, this is the most uplifting post of 2015! Congrats all round.

    Like

  61. Annie B says:

    Way to go, Nick! You are an amazing young man.

    Like

  62. Annie B says:

    Reblogged this on Surrendering My Shield and commented:
    If you need a hero . . . here he is!!!!!! Way to go, Nick. There really are NO excuses for any of us to not achieve our dreams once we read this story.

    Like

  63. macjam47 says:

    What a fantastic and victorious day!

    Like

  64. Sherri says:

    What a truly incredible day, love all the photos, especially the one of you smiling as only a mum can with her dear son. Oh Sue, proud doesn’t even cut it does it? Your words here define the day perfectly in all its true meaning: ‘…indefinable quality that is fierce and knows joy, but is quiet and doesn’t scream its triumphs…’ Moving, beautiful and a day never forgotten. Bless you both xx

    Like

  65. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, SUPERSTAR!

    Nicely done, Nick, you are a testament to all that is possible and that one should never give up hope. You should rightly be proud of all you have achieved, (and no doubt will continue to achieve), and are truly a role model for the many people who are facing apparent insurmountable odds in their lives.

    Since I started following your story, I have never failed to be impressed by your tenacity and drive and never doubted for a minute that you would complete the event, with your team-mates, in triumph.

    And then you go and climb a bloody wall… well you’re just showing off now!

    Good luck on the London/Brighton ride, I will follow your progress with great interest.

    Best wishes, mate and Keep smiling 😊

    Darren.

    (Sue…how proud you must be!)

    Like

  66. Reblogged this on THE PEN AND THE PAGE and commented:
    A great day was had by all…

    Liked by 1 person

  67. Sacha Black says:

    Amazing. Read this absolutely gripped by every word. Been desperate to catch up on all these blogs – this one in particular. So glad he completed it and fabulously so. I used to do a bit of acting, and if ever you fell off the stage or forgot your lines they always said to get up and carry on (the show must go on) Nick clearly embodies that. Is there nothing this boy can’t do? I mean seriously he has to be like hero of the year. I am utterly in awe of his achievements. And I am thrilled he raised so much money too. 😊

    Like

  68. I am so happy for your entire family. I’m especially happy for Nick…his drive and determination is an inspiration.

    Like

  69. Super story. So motivating.

    Like

  70. lbeth1950 says:

    Please tell Nick I admire him. I admire you, too!

    Like

  71. Pingback: How I Changed My Life in 2015 | Suzie Speaks

  72. Pingback: All change | Sue Vincent – Daily Echo

  73. :’-) “Some tears are just liquid joy.” ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  74. Pingback: Nick: A Personal Triumph over Brain Damage | ADD . . . and-so-much-more

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