2020 has been an interesting year for everyone and has often required new ways of dealing with normal activities. Usually at this time of the year our members get together for a Christmas party and awards night to celebrate the year’s achievements. The question was, how to party like it’s 1999 in 2020? For those of us of a certain vintage, Zoom was a great song by Fat Larry’s Band in the 80’s. Zoom certainly wasn’t a place where you socialised, but now staying in is the new going out. So, this year we couldn’t gather in person so we decided to go virtual. There were a few upsides to this.. no traumatised feet from swopping runners for stiletto heels. No squeezing into spanx to get that required shape. This year’s last minute dash to Penneys for the vital bits of jewellery and tan was for pre-Christmas fluffy PJ’s and woolly socks. It was going to be an interesting evening no matter what as it was the club’s first attempt at a large Zoom event. The night finally arrived full with anticipation and very tired legs after the running event earlier in the day. We were all set. Club P.R.O. Mick McCarthy hosted the party and managed to keep things going… just about. It can be challenging trying to control dozens of of unruly triathletes at the best of times. Online and with a few Christmas drinks on board it was like herding cats. The club gave each of our members a bottle of wine and a box of Mince Pies to help ease in to the night.
First up was a welcome chat from our new chairperson Niamh Fleming, who welcomed all our members to the party. She thanked everyone for their continued support and enthusiasm for the club. Also, for keeping up their own training and for being continuously on the path of improvement. Niamh thanked Shane Collins for his work as Chairperson for the last three years, and thanked Gina Lyons, who stepped down as club treasurer after nearly 10 years in the role. A big thank you again to both of them for their endless enthusiasm and hard work over the years. Next up was our annual Review of the Year video, which was no easy task with limited events run this year. This was followed by by newly minted joint P.R.O. Anne Furlong channelling her best Ryan Tubridy and interviewing Club Secretary Stephen Dalton t about the marathon he ran in his back garden and his great accomplishments in swimming. Stephen earned his marathon swimming cap for swimming 10k this year and he also talked about what he hoped to achieve next year including a few ice swims.
Gerard Kearney the Magician joined the party and amazed us all with his card tricks and some mind blowing mental feats. Gerard added a bit of flare and glamour to the night’s proceedings as he held court with his online live show. He gained a lot of fans on the night with our members and we’re still trying to figure out how he did his magic on the evening.
Anne Furlong then did her second interview of the evening, this time with another of our swimming legends, Frank Hallissey. Frank is well known in the club for his ice swimming challenges. He spoke about his progression from open water swimming to doing ice mile swimming all over the country. Frank also completed his first virtual triathlon this year and spoke about his plans for the year ahead, including a relay race in North Channel next summer.
Rounding up the evening we announced our awards winners. To celebrate some of members who achieved outstanding personal feats over the last year. Thinking outside the box as we were on Zoom night,a bit of skulduggery was required in the background with family and friends roped in to present our unsuspecting members with their awards.
TinaKiely and Clem Leonard were the best newcomers of the year. The most improved athletes of the year were Amanda Lenihan and Bernard Kiernan, with Gian Lyons and Dave Mccarthy earning the Triathlete of the year accolades. The Club Person of the Year award, which is voted for by club members, was won by our new Joint P.R.O. and erstwhile Ryan Tubridy impersonatoe, Anne Furlong. Anne has been the driving force behind many of the Club’s virtual lockdown events over the year and has helped keep everyone fit and sane through challenging times. She was a very popular and very deserving winner. Each of our award winners received the club shield for the year and a beautiful Message in a Bottle from Siobhan Steele Ceramics with the message on the bottle “If you can dream it, than you can achieve it”. Well done to all of them and to all the club members, without whom there would be no Blackwater Triathlon Club.