Today, the world's best triathletes will gather in my hometown to race in the International Triathlon Union (ITU) championship. The ITU series features eight races around the globe and more than 100 elite triathletes will compete in the only race to be held in North America. Spots in the 2012 Olympics are at stake for the ITU athletes, so the competition would be fierce -- I would be sure not to miss all this excitement and action with world-class athletes wearing their nation's flags racing up and down majestic Pennsylvania Avenue.
This morning, I rolled out of bed at 4:30 AM to head out to what I thought would be a beautiful, summer rain-free and action-packed day -- I thought wrong about the weather, but the day was indeed full of energy and excitement.
One of DC's most amazing running groups, DC Capital Striders, would be sponsoring an aid station (on Mile 5 on the course, between 7th and 9th Constitution), and I was indeed honored to participate and perhaps pick up some pointers for my Ironman 70.3 in Cancun later this year.
Nkosi offering Adrian Fenty a cup of water. He forgot to ask the Mayor how the Potomac tasted (especially after all that rain).
Stephanie handing out Powerade to a top-notch athlete. Although water was popular at first (I managed to meet my quota of 10 cups), powerade came back strong at the end.
I even got to see a couple of my friends on the course, including the ubiquitous Bill Brigman, USAF, former colleague and Nation's Triathlon veteran. Glad Bill liked my water -- too bad it wasn't bourbon, Bill.
After helping out with both the sprint and Olympic distance races, the Capital Striders gang disbanded and headed out to Penn Avenue to watch the pros strut their stuff.
Time trial bikers racing in front of the elegant and nautical Navy Memorial. Guess what the flags in the background spell?
Answer: NAVY - ME - MO - RIAL
The top three finishers in the men's competition: Gold: Alistair Browlee of Great Britain (1:48:58), Silver: Javier Gomez of Spain and 2008 Olympic champion (1:49:11) Bronze: Maik Petzold of Germany (1:49:24).
After the elite men championship, I decided to visit the Newseum to get a bird's eye view of the race from it's much-vaunted and full-length balcony (made famous from during the Inaugural parade)
This turned out to be a great idea. Not only was I able to get sweeping, unhindered views, I met another Brit, Betty Vo, who recently received her Masters in Journalism at George Washington University. As luck would have it, Betty, was on her way to Dulles to fly back to UK, and the Newseum was her final stop. I'm glad I got a chance meet her and chat with her before her return home.
Betty and I in front of the Berlin Wall. (No surprise why Betty didn't want to get close to me -- I had just run along Penn Avenue). I found out later that ACT UP or the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power is a diverse, non-partisan group of individuals who are committed to end the AIDS crisis.
Betty, who aspires to be a radio broadcaster in the UK, shared with me her views about journalism. She doesn't believe that journalists should always go out on an assignment to find the story. Instead, sometimes, it's better to let the story find you.
Needless to say, I was quite happy to hear her views -- kind of like what Run in DC is all about: Running around this exciting town not on a particular agenda but to observe and blog the human-interest stories that appear right in front of my eyes (even if I have to run to it).
At L'Enfant, I bid Farewell and Following Seas to Betty -- I wish her well and best of luck in her career. Maybe one day, I'll hear her on "All Things Considered."
After all this, you would think the excitement would finally be over -- you thought wrong -- I had watched a lot of runners, but I had yet to go out for my long run.
A run along the National Mall brought me in touch with Ms. Ang Herad, Stuart, Carwin, and Gwenno from the beautiful and historic country of Wales.
Ang Herad is ensuring that the Folklife Festival fully captures the rhythm of everyday life in Wales so that visitors will be able to get a real sense of the people and landscape of this breathtakingly beautiful and culturally-rich country.
The Wales Cymru team is building a very nice, authentic Welsh pub equipped with delicious and nutritious Welsh beer. This is exactly what we had two years ago when Northern Ireland was featured at the Folklife. Read my post from July 2007
For good luck and good health, Ms. Jones presented me with a piece of world-famous Welsh slate mined from the mountains of Northern Wales. I had to run around the mall with this in hand, but mysteriously I picked up speed -- I'm making a bracelet out of this stone.
A great chap from Wales, he was quite a Seaward
A great chap from Wales, he was quite a Seaward
Mined from the mountains, extracted from the deep quarries
If you pack it tight, it will last a million years
So, how was my day after all. Let's see Alistair Browlee of GBR won the Gold; I met Betty Vo from London and now I have made two, true Welsh friends at the Folklife and even have a momento to prove it -- It's a Great Day for Great Britain.
(Note, despite my naivete, I know that Wales is not part of GBR but actually part of the UK -- but they all have great pubs, great slate and this makes a great story -- so there.)
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