Team Profile – A Geordie and A Frog

3 months to go until Breca Swimrun at Lake Buttermere. I’m only just now starting to realise how big a challenge this is going to be. I’ve been in denial up until this point.

Running = 38km
Swimming = 6km
Ascent = 1900m

9 runs/8 swims

Let’s not dwell on the specifics. In fact, let’s distract ourselves completely. I’ve been in touch with another team who are racing on July 2nd – Lets get to know them.

Team Name: A Geordie and a Frog
Team Members: Jamie Guerin & Mike Stobbs

Team Motto: Just got to get on!

Geordie - Frog

Who are you, where are you from and how do you know each other?
Mike
– Jamie and I work together at Latimer Vintners a wine merchant in London. We met playing cricket for our local village Cricket team, Wilcot CC, in Wiltshire. When Jamie finished Uni he had no idea what he wanted to do so I gave him a bit of work experience, that was 3 years ago and I still haven’t managed to get rid of him! Jamie is about as French as they come.. with a thick accent and so he adds a bit of French authenticity to the business. This counteracts my strong Geordie twang.., so I suppose he does offer something! (Actually to be honest when Jamie first started working for me he told me he was fluent in French, being half French, I believed him, turns out this was not exactly true as discovered on a trip to the Rhone valley! And while I am from Newcastle, I am not sure how well I would blend in nowadays on a Friday night down the Bigg Market…….)

What do you do when you’re not jumping into lakes with your shoes on or running round in wetsuits?
Mike– I have a four year old son, who’s great fun and so I enjoy spending time with him. On the sport front I do some running on the Salisbury plain or round the streets of London, play squash, cricket, real tennis and now have started swimming more regularly than I have in the past. Beyond that my job takes up a lot of time and due to the nature of being a wine merchant I have to eat and drink a fair amount which will be the excuse I use for our less than stellar performance on July 2nd.
Jamie– I enjoy a range of sports and especially love playing and watching cricket in the summer.

What attracted you to this race? Why Swimrun, why not a normal run or a triathlon?
Mike– I am turning 40 this year and decided I wanted to do a proper challenge having done a few half marathons and cross country runs over the past few years. The thought of marathon is a bit boring and I have no interest in cycling so a triathlon was out although that said I was not exactly an avid swimmer either! I saw an article on the swim run in the Guardian and it appealed as it was a bit different and would definitely be a big challenge but one that seemed achievable with a lot of training. Also I went on family holidays in the lake district every year when I was kid and I have done a lot of walking over there and used to swim in the lake (Ulswater) everyday, so I have a soft spot for the region. Finally it seemed like a big enough deal to use it to raise some money for charity which I support the MSA Trust.

Do you have a personal connection with the charity? 
Mike
– Yes its a syndrome that my dad had and so I have seen how it effects people first hand. It’s a Parkinson related neurological disorder which causes degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and  causes all kinds of physical problems for those who suffer from it. There is no cure and very little is known about how to treat it effectively. As I have said I have very fond memories of holidays with him in the lakes when I was young so it seemed like a good way to remember him and try and raise some cash. Here is a link to my just giving page https://www.justgiving.com/CM-Stobbs/

Jamie– Having just turned 25 I do not have the same mid-life crisis reason as Mike who is nearly over the hill… however it seemed a good step up from some triathlons I dabbled in last year as well as the marathon. Having played cricket alongside Mike for several years and had plenty of competitive games of squash against him I was only too happy to join him on this challenge, also he might have fired me had I refused. Daunting as it seems training is stepping up week on week and I am really looking forward to this challenge!

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I love how far removed this race is from village cricket. And the fact you’ve jumped straight in screams mid-life crisis, I agree with Jamie! It would be much easier to just go and buy a sports car. How mad do the people around you think you are?
Mike
– Generally speaking yes, Georgie was not keen when I suggested it but is now totally on board. Most people think I am completely mad but my view is why not, what’s the worst that can happen (don’t answer that!)

Will you be dashing back down to London or are you hoping to have a long weekend?
Mike
– No, my girlfriend (Georgie) is coming along to support us so we are going to spend a couple of days in lakes after the event.

Any chance of bringing some wine up to Buttermere? I’m quite certain it will taste amazing after the event! In fact, what wine would you recommend after this!?
Mike
– I will certainly be needing some so yes a few sneaky bottles will makes their way in to the boot of the car. To be honest I suspect anything will taste good after the event but if pushed I reckon a nice Double Magnum of Ch Romanin Rosé would hit the spot!

When do you think you’re going to start getting in some open water swim practice?
Mike
– As soon as the wetsuit arrives which should be in the next week or two (I have Gone for the Orca Swimrun suit). There are a couple of lakes near London (Heron Lake and liquid Leisure) which I think will be the regular options (any other suggestions gratefully received). We also have a couple of training weekends in the diary when we plan to practice the transitions etc. One of them will be in the Lake District in May where we are going to try and replicate a bit of what we will face in July.

So you guys are training together as well?
Mike
– Yes, we have done a couple of runs together and we both did the Pewsey Terminator on Feb 28th. We are also planning a couple of training weekends in May and June.

It’s going to get tough out on the course, it’s a long old race. What mental tricks will you employ to keep yourselves going?
Mike
– Well Jamie doesn’t shut up so I guess that will either entertain or irritate me enough to take my mind off the pain. Beyond that I am sure we will manage to keep each other going with some inane chat and a few jokes along the way.

What do you see as your biggest strengths?
Mike
– I am pretty determined and I don’t generally give up on things (ask Jamie re the Phall challenge). Jamie’s biggest strength is probably an extraordinary (and potentially delusional) self-belief when it comes to his sporting ability/prowess he has described himself as “a natural athlete”.

And finally…

Karaoke song of choice?
Mike
– Ain’t no doubt– Jimmy Nail
Jamie – Je ne regretted rien – Edith Piaf

A double act that you aspire to be like (or might be tarnished with!)
Glen McGrath and Shane Warne (just to keep on the cricket theme)

 

Looking forward to meeting these guys up in the lakes on race day. Good luck with the training and with the fundraising (here’s the JustGiving page once again – www.justgiving.com/CM-Stobbs/)

And a reminder of the Breca teams featured so far:

Tuff Fitty
Tri Energy Mums
ATC Triology
2 Slow 2 Win, 2 Dumb 2 Quit

I hope everyone’s trainings going well, mine’s still yet to kick off properly, although my team-mate has done a couple of Aquathlons already. I’ve got some catching up to do.

Please get in touch if you fancy answering some questions about your team. Its great to read some of the stories and learn a bit more about who we’re all racing with.

 

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TEAM PROFILE – 2 SLOW 2 WIN, 2 DUMB 2 QUIT

Have you got a drink? Put it down. These guys will probably make you spit it all over your screen.
Part of the reason for doing these profiles is so we might be able to identify each other on the day and strike up conversations easily. I must say, after this interview I’m really looking forward to meeting these guys at Breca Swimrun although I wouldn’t accept a drink off them during the race…..it might be sabotage.

Team Name: 2 Slow 2 Win 2 Dumb 2 Quit
Team Members: Manuel Campana / Dino Sarpi

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The chuckle brothers – happy with Pizza & Beer

Who are you, where are you from and how do you know each other?
Dino: My name is Dino, the result of an eclectic mix of Iranian and Italian blood resulting in what was summarised in the year book as a Terrorist Pornstar… being a terrorist is no longer cool and the pornstar days are long over or were just wishful thinking! I have known Manuel since I was 10? but didn’t talk to him for several years because he was hanging out with ass-holes.
Manuel: Just for the record, we were 13. And very good friends. Then something yet unknown to mankind happened in his brain and he stopped talking to me. Then one day he must have come to his senses and here we are, good friends again. Go figure. I’m really enjoying our friendship now though. Hopefully he won’t change his mind again.
Anyway. I’m Manuel, 100% Italian, no terrorist at all, let alone porn-star. Web developer by day and nothing by night because I have a tendency to fall asleep straight after dinner.

Italians eh?  On a scale between Ferrari and Fiat, where would you like to put yourselves? Judging by the team-name, I’m going with Lambretta?
Dino: Italy is also well known for wine, Amaretto Disaronno (feels like there’s a theme here), good food, and bunga bunga (watch out!); but if you put it that way, yes, since Manuel is part of the team we’d go with a rusty Lambretta Innocenti or an even rustier Ape Piaggio (go on, google it). With all due respect to Innocenti and Piaggio of course.
What attracted you to this race? Why Swimrun, why not a normal race/triathlon?
Manuel: Not a triathlon mainly because it would involve buying a bike or race on a Boris bike (although I’m still considering the latter). Not a normal race because I keep listening to my friend here. I should probably learn how not to.
Dino: No longer terror-porn-starring-wishful-thinking, so this was the next best thing!

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Where do you see yourselves being strongest?
Dino: Weeeeeelll…. so…. Manuel…. basically… he will try very hard. I am there to try and make sure he finishes. As for everyone else, please go faster else you may be used as a flotation device.
Manuel: What do you mean ‘try’? You WILL make sure I finish! Also you’ll make sure I finish ALIVE! Won’t you? Yes you will. I’m sure he will.
Also if I find an effective way to make him tow me without realizing it, we may even aim at a decent time. But seriously? My strength is definitely my teammate. We’ve known each other a long time and we love spending time together. The fact that I’m doing this race with him gives me a big hype. I’ll try my best not to slow him down too much but in any event I’m sure we’ll enjoy every second of it.

Are you happy with your teammate?
Dino: Manuel is probably the best team mate you could wish for. I always wanted to…
Manuel: *interrupts*  I didn’t have much choice to be honest. I’m just not sure whether or not we’ll still want to be friends after the race.
Dino: What?!?!? …drown him, so here I will have the opportunity.
Manuel: Hahaha! See? Friendship is in jeopardy already!

Any amusing stories you’d like to share with us?
Manuel: Amusing stories about Dino?
So… *coughs* …first of all I have to say that my storytelling skills are not that good and this guy here is such a character that you’d have to know him to fully understand what he is like. Me telling a story doesn’t even cut it, plus the funniest episodes are usually quite obscene in a way or another.

Having said that,  there is an episode that can be published uncensored. We were in north Wales for a double ironman (needless to say I was only supporting) and the participants had to do registration the evening before the race. So in the afternoon we were meticulously going through the mandatory kit list that needed to be approved at registration. It occurred to me that said list wasn’t very precise and left a lot to interpretation. For example they required to carry at least a certain amount of drink to avoid dehydration. But they didn’t specify in what container. A bottle? A bladder? A flask? And they didn’t even specify what kind of drink. Water? Energy drink? Orange juice? Presumably it was irrelevant. However, with Dino taking part, they should definitely have specified.

So off to registration we went. The lovely lady who checked us started going through all his stuff. First aid kit, check. Waterproof jacket, check. Whistle, check. Head torch, check. Drink….. er…. excuse me Dino, where is your mandatory drink to avoid dehydration? And he simply replied “well, your list wasn’t very precise so…. there!” pointing at his bike.

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Dino: I didn’t finish the race… seriously! Our friend Chris had to pick me up off the side of the road at midnight after 150miles of cycling.

Have you looked at the course map yet? Is there anything making you nervous?
Dino: Bring it on.
Manuel: There’s a big difference between looking at a graph on the screen with your hand scraping the bottom of a pack of crisps and actually running that graph. But the thing that makes me nervous the most are the constant reminders from Dino (e.g. Emails with subject: “You’re in the shit now!”).

What have you done in the past? Give us a brief background.
Manuel: Until last year just some sporadic climbing, some recreational skating, a lot of snowboarding, and the rest was in front of an Xbox. Then last year, probably due to a premature midlife crisis, I joined BMF (British Military Fitness) and started doing various OCRs (Spartan and whatnot), some swims, aquathlons, etc. Now I’m trying to move towards fewer but more “serious” events. Let’s see if I’ve got what it takes.
Dino: I have participated in several running, swimming and triathlons (I have a feeling this might be a modest understatement folks!)

Are you planning on any particular races in the build up?
Manuel: Nothing planned yet, but I’ve got at least a couple of swims in mind. As for running, for now I’m giving some rest to an injured ankle but normally I train on the hills of Hampstead Heath and enjoy the beautiful views that my local park has to offer.

Will you be making a weekend of it or is it a splash,dash & grab?
Manuel: My hope is to make a weekend of it. I’ve never been there and I’d love to enjoy the place and bring home some nice memories; other than just pain and suffering. Let’s see if the girlfriend will oblige.
Dino: Girlfriends decide.

Are there any questions you’d like to put to other teams/organisers/experienced swimrunners?
Manuel: Can you all pull out, please? Jokes aside, I’d love to read other interviews. It makes the race more personal. I understand it’s a race so you kinda want to demolish the other competitors (be prepared guys, I’m ruthless), but usually you just race with other people and getting to know them a bit more is something that could really make a better event.
As for the race itself my biggest question mark is the amount of stuff to carry and how. I guess experienced swimrunners might be able to help there?
Dino: The secret to a good time is proper lubrication, so how do you stop chafing from happening during a swimrum event!?!?
You mean SwimRUN right?
Man
uel: No no, that seems plausible, I’m pretty sure he meant swimRUM

Pick a famous duo you can compare yourselves with:
Dino: Tom & Jerry? Road Runner & Willy Coyote? Pinky & The Brain?
Manuel: No no no. I don’t want to be Tom nor Willy. Let alone Pinky. Pfft. I was thinking more something along the lines of Mario and Luigi. Then my girlfriend got involved and she suggested the Chuckle brothers. I had no idea who they were so I googled them. I think I want a new girlfriend.
To you, to me, to you, to me…

chuckle
Manuel & Dino with a lady who is definitely not holding a cock in a glass
Post-race Food/Drink of choice?
Dino: Can we leave a message to the RDs? Provided Manuel survives and makes it to the finish line on his legs, we would be extremely grateful if you could have a hot calzone and a fresh pint waiting for us. Thanks.
Manuel: Seriously. It would be a massive achievement for me, but asking for press and TV to celebrate the event seemed a bit too much, so I think pizza and beer is a fair compromise.

Afterparty Karaoke song of choice?
Manuel: Uh oh… this is not going to end up well… we could be on a very dangerous ground here… especially after a few tequilas. We won’t say anything for now to avoid compromising the little reputation, if any, we’ve got left.

If you’d like YOUR team to be featured on here, drop a comment below, or on twitter, or send me a message and we’ll get on the case. It would be great to get as many profiles before race day as we can. Fast, slow or just in it for a laugh, I’m fascinated to see who we’re all up against!

Have a look here for the Breca SwimRun profiles so far:
Tuff Fitty
Tri Energy Mums
ATC Triology

And for some great SwimRun tips make sure to read this interview here. Its got everything from kit-tips to videos on how to transition.