Held in memory of Adam Smiddy, who passed away from an aggressive melanoma aged 26, Smiling for Smiddy delivers inspiring challenge events where individuals and communities alike can band together to raise funds for cancer research at Mater, the Smiddy way.
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
THE NOOSA TRIATHLON AND THE SMIDDY CONNECTION - The story thus far...
Well it has been a while since my last blog, which was my account of the final ride of my 4000 kilometre month of September 7in7 journey around Australia. As the weeks turn into months since I tortured myself for 23 days on the road, the fatigue I felt has slowly lifted. I entered and finished my 23rd Noosa triathlon and for the first time in the past five years I actually had a half decent race this year finishing in 2 hours and 21 minutes. The infamous Shark hat, that sits atop my skinny head, adding an extra foot of height to my already 6ft 3" frame, made its fourth only ever appearance throughout the run leg. Anyway we once again had 50 triathletes raising money on behalf of Smiling for Smiddy and I wanted to tell their story. Please enjoy my words below.
Four years ago Rowan Foster and I approached the staff at USM and asked if they would consider allocating Smiling for Smiddy charity slots. This was a totally new concept in the game of triathlons. All the big sold-out marathons around the world had been doing it for years, so we thought… ”Why not for triathlon?” It was 2010 and USM took a gamble on us and allocated us 30 slots. Those 30 triathletes turned those slots into $30,000, which supported some amazing cancer programs at Mater Research. USM sat up and took notice and the following year we were awarded with 50 slots and $80,000 was raised for much needed funding to keep these life-saving programs at the Mater alive. 2012 was again a most successful year with over $90,000 raised and then again this year when ‘you’ 50 amazing triathletes came on board and raised a staggering $85,000!
Thanks to this success and the fact that you -our Noosa Smiddy participants- were responsible for yet another incredible year for Smiling for Smiddy and the Mater Foundation, USM has awarded Smiddy a mind blowing 100 slots for the 2014 Noosa Triathlon.
Each year we are proud to welcome more and more triathletes into the Smiddy family; that Smiddy bubble of positiveness that continues to expand each year to bursting point. To date over 1100 athletes have represented Smiling for Smiddy events since 2006. Think about that… Smiddy started when I and two mates rode 1600 kilometres from Brisbane to Townsville and raised $24,000. To now, where eight years on, ten Smiddy events each year, 1100 plus fundraising athletes and a staggering $5 plus million dollars raised for an amazing cause. I know I hold my head high beaming with proudness of what Smiddy has become and and I know that you guys and girls should be holding your head even higher. For without you there would be no Smiling for Smiddy and $5 million dollars.
Anyway I just wanted to let this year’s Smiling for Smiddy Noosa participants know how incredibly special you all are. Now while I would like to mention each and every one of you in this article please know that I can’t but that I, along with the entire team at Smiddy and the Mater, are indeed thinking of you and grateful for your contribution. So without further ado I would like to finish with my list of ten memorable moments, in no particular order, in Smiddy Noosa for 2013.
1. I love the fact that we get so many repeat offenders like Lucy, Julian, Peter, Sean, Glenn, Brian, Matt, Sandy, Henry, Paul, and Ian, to name but a few. Who return year after year after year. Lucy Cantle each year enters Noosa via the general entry yet still fundraises for Smiddy. Awesome effort guys!
2. The top three fundraisers this year were Brian Williams at over $15,000. John Gallagher at $5,200 and Michael O’Gorman who raised $4,400. Nice work guys and nice work to all our 50 fundraisers. No matter what amount you raised it all contributed to that staggering $85k.
3. Holly Berry joined us last year for the Midi Smiddy after losing her father to cancer. What a welcome return for Holy to then come on board her first Smiddy Noosa and again raise some good funds for her efforts at Noosa. Thank you Holly!
4. Each year for the Noosa triathlon we see family connections that come together for a shared goal of not just finishing the triathlon, but doing it to raise some good funds for cancer research. Thank you to Sean and Robyn, Allen and Marie-Louise, Brian and his nephew Dan and the amazing Burgess family who fielded four from the one family.
5. A big shout out to a few first time Olympic distance Noosa triathletes in Ros Russel, Leisha Callaghan, Natasha Crawford, Eli Rochford, Dan Halter and Robyn Lever. Always a scary thing plunging into your first big race and you all finished admirably.
6. To our oldest competitor in Allen Cutler, who completed the race with his wife at a sprightly 65 years of age. Inspirational performance for future gentleman out there thinking of taking the plunge. Also to our youngest competitor in Tom Burgess, who at 24 years of age did his family proud by completing the Noosa triathlon for Smiddy.
7. Smiddy has always been about mateship and every year we attract one key person, who then invites his mates along for the ride. They in turn get not just to race another triathlon, but to do it for a good cause and get to experience the Smiddy spirit as a bonus. So to Brian Williams and all your buddies for two years running.. Glenn Stephens from Hillbrooke Anglican School and all your mates back for the second year in a row racing for Smiddy as well. To Mark, James and Malcolm, all a bit worried about completing the event but you did so in fine fashion. And the amazing Burgess family of four; racing to remember your lost brother and dad and you honoured him with great dignity.
8. And Smiddy always introduces new triathletes to one another and I know of one great training friendship that blossomed from some last minute training in Nicole and Lance.
9. The Special Triathlon for kids with disabilities was a highlight for all the Smiddy competitors who put their hands up and volunteered at this amazing heart-warming, life affirming event. Talk about getting a healthy dose of life related reality check. You think you are having a bad day sometimes and yet these kids live with their disabilities each and every day for their whole lives and are always smiling and happy. A huge thank you Smiddy partners for making their day as triathletes a memory that will stay with them forever.
10. I have to finish with saying how good all of you looked in your Tineli Smiddy Noosa kits. The blue this year shone out like a beacon late at night. Each time I spotted a Smiddy suit it would lift my spirits, which while wearing that heavy and sauna-like Shark hat, which was stuffed with newspaper to keep it upright, helped me more than you can ever imagine
Again thank you for all that you have done to foster the Smiddy spirit within the Triathlon community over these past four years. How good was it to be out on the course and not only other Smiddy competitors but complete strangers yelling out; “Go Smiddy”. Who needs to remember names when we are all Smiddy ambassadors…?
Before I leave you a special mention goes out to an incredible lady who came into my life just 7 months ago. A lot of my friends rib me (in a nice way) over the mentions I give Alyssa in my blog from time to time, but to be perfectly honest, I don't care, as I have always worn my heart on my sleeve and she has made me unbelievably happy. Anyway some of my readers have asked for a photo of Alyssa. If you look in the photo to the right you will see her in the bottom left. Congratulations Alyssa on completing your very first Noosa Triathlon.
PS: If you are keen to do Noosa next year for team Smiddy, we have been allocated 100 slots and would love to have your involvement. It's as easy as dropping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org