Blog - Thu 26th Jan 2012 - A Proper Decathlon - Heason Events

A Proper Decathlon

26th Jan 2012

 Sometime towards the end of 2011 I was sat in a pub with some friends and the subject of a decathlon came up. Not the sports store, though I was doing some work for them at the time so it may have stemmed from there. No, an actual decathlon as in an Olympic event. I did a fair bit of athletics as a teenager – high jump mostly. Being 6 foot 5 I was pretty good and broke a few school and county records. Along the way I tried my hand at all the other events, even include a short session at pole vault once. However I never tried them all together. Not being daunted by a little organisation I suggested to those in the pub that we ought to look into the possibility of doing one. The next day I called the Don Valley athletics stadium. They suggested that it may be a better bet to call the English Institute Of Sport who have an indoor stadium with 200m track, hurdles straight and all the field event apparatus to boot. It costs £900 to rent it for a day. A bargain I reckon. So I set about recruiting 29 other likeminded individuals to part with £30 each and take part. The big day was last Saturday. We had the place from 10am until 4pm. 10 events. 30 minutes each with an hour for lunch! There were a few drop outs mainly due to illness and injury, but on the day we ended up with 11 women and 9 men. We split into the two obvious groupings and got on with it. At our disposal were two staff members who organised us and gave us a bit of tuition / coaching on each event. Things started off well. I ran the 100m in 11.2 seconds and won. 11.2 seconds! Blimey. In retrospect I think that we used the wrong lane markings and I perhaps ran a shade under 100m. But running off a bend at speed was really pretty exciting. With each event the practice sessions became shorter and shorter as we tried to conserve energy. The javelin was a bit of a let-down as we were given flimsy foam things that had a tendency to veer off to the side unless you were lucky. The discus was amusing as they gave us metal rimmed proper ones which proceeded to eat up bits of the paintwork as the odd one went wayward. Pole vault was never on the cards so we substituted triple jump (3 runs, 3 jumps and 3 throws, plus the hurdles) which was perhaps the wrong event to have at number 8 as people’s legs were definitely looking a bit wobbly by then. By the time the bell came on the 1500m at the end I’d been lapped by marathon (in a cartoon character costume) record holder Johnny Morgan (no surprise there then), but also lost enough ground to fellow giant Chris Hutchins (of Stanage Summer Challenge partnership) to relinquish my lead and finish an overall very creditable 2nd. We chucked all the numbers into a spreadsheet we’d cobbled together from the net which used IAAF formulae to generate a set of scores. The world record is 9,026. Chris scored 2,387 to my 2,426. The ladies winner was ex British climbing team member Kat Love with 1,923. What an awesome way to spend a day. I ached for 3 days afterwards, but now feel pretty fit compared with this time last week…

2012 01 Decathlon