Stew Smith The Ironman (The Son)
Last modified: 25 Oct 2006

Source: The Son
Author: Philip Atherton
Date: 25 Oct 2006

To most people running a marathon is the peak of their athletic achievement. Tens of thousands take part in the London Marathon every year and finish absolutely exhausted.

Stew Smith, drummer with Delirious? found himself going way further when he entered the UK "Ironman". If you don't know what this is imagine swimming 2.4 miles (that is 154 lengths of your local pool), then getting on your bike for 112 miles (like going from London to Brighton then turning round and going back), and then finish it all off by running a marathon. Even worse - if you don't get to the finish line in 13 hours, you are disqualified!!

I spoke to Stew just before a Delirious? gig in his home town of Littlehampton

So Stew why Triathlons?

"I was originally a cyclist, doing time trials and some road races, but I couldn't take my bike with me when traveling with Delirious?, so I started to run just to keep fit.

I did the London Marathon in 2000 with Stu Garrard and Jon Thatcher - two other members of the band - and after that started to get into serious running. I was introduced to a guy who lived locally to me who did triathlons and he asked me if I wanted to try it out. One BIG problem though - I was a rubbish swimmer! Sure I could go to the pool and mess about with friends and family, but I couldn't do one length. My friend said he would train me and so I started. It was really embarrassing - every week I was being overtaken by grannies and granddads!

I swam 4-5 times a week for 6 months and eventually got my speed up and I entered my first triathlon. I didn't know what to expect and just made sure that I finished as fast as I could. At the end I was so tired and confused I got in my car and went home for a nice bath - only for the phone to ring and someone ask "Where are you?" - I had come 3rd and the other 2 guys were waiting on the podium!"

And then the ultimate test - The Ironman?

"Yes and what a test it was and not just the actual race. The training certainly tested me on how to manage my time. I would get up at 4.45 am to get 2 - 3 hours of training in before work. On tour in Australia, I was running around the Olympic Superdome at 3 in the morning. I was the lone runner for about 2 hours until I was joined by other professional athletes. I now know that you can fit loads into your day if you are disciplined about it."

The race didn't go all according to plan though?

"No, I was way ahead of schedule after the swimming - which was very physical - all bumping and pushing - and the cycling, but then things started to go wrong with my guts."

(Stew had to stop 5 or 6 times rather than do a Paula Radcliffe) "If I hadn't had the runs (ha ha!) I reckon I would have qualified to represent Great Britain at the Ironman finals in Hawaii. Even so I was really pleased to finish in 10hours and 49 minutes"

So Stew are you going to do another one?

"If you had asked me after the race I would have said no - I was in so much pain. A few days later though and I was starting to think about getting that qualifying time. So if I can fit in the training, I think I will go for it. I would be so honoured to represent my country"

Finally Stew - would you change from drumming to athletics, given the choice?

"I have thought about that a lot since the race. Someone once said to me 'The grass is always greener - but it still needs mowing'. I can dream about changing, but what I'm doing now is my life and you know, it's what I really want to do"

Stew did the Ironman to raise money for two charities he is supporting - 'Links International' works to empower others around the world to achieve their own destiny, helping with Primary Health Care and Micro-enterprise Development. 'The Wire' is a local charity. It provides practical, creative and accessible activities for children, young people and families in Stew's home town.

If you want to sponsor Stew, then send him your money either through Paypal or you can send cheques made payable to Links International (make sure you say its for Stew's run) to Links International PO Box 198 Littlehampton West Sussex BN16 3UQ England.

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