Posted by George Morrison

Triathlon Tragedy                 Word on the Week            26th August 2023.

The recent drowning of two participants who were competing in the triathlon in the sea off Youghal brought a sombre note to the event.  The Ironman competition, as the name suggests, requires extremes of physical fitness in those who compete.   It is a mixture of three sports, Swimming, Cycling and Running over set distances in one race.  

The idea of a superman lies dear to the heart of most boys.   We had a number of weekly Boys Magazines where no challenge was too hard for the hero.    I cannot remember for sure but I think in one such magazine he has the common name of ‘Wilson’.   This was part of the idea that his achievements were within the grasp of any of us!

This was followed by the era of Superman where again the hero was an ordinary bloke who could transform into the extraordinary at will.   He performed acts of valour but took no credit for them, transforming back into his normal guy image.

At Youghal the sea was rough, especially near the shore.   This is caused by waves of seawater being forced upwards by the beach, forming crests which break making it difficult to get past them into deeper water.

Once into deeper water swimmers, buoyed up by their rubber wetsuits, had the tidal flow of the water to contend with.   The amateurs among the swimmers would have found the surface turbulence interfered with their breathing, some requiring assistance from the safety dinghies. 

It would have been brought home to them that ‘Iron’ does not float unless by miracle (2 Kings 6 Verse 6)!  Ironmen are also human and subject to the usual human constraints.    Our sympathy goes to those who mourn the loss of their loved ones.   They did however realise the dangers of the Triathlon having signed a disclaimer to the race organisers as part of their entry paperwork.

In Scripture the sea usually represents chaos.   The Gospels record Jesus with his disciples, caught in a storm in the sea of Galilee.   Jesus slept while the storm raged sufficiently to put the fear of death into the men, many of whom were experienced fishermen (Luke 8 verses 22 to 25).   The disciples woke Jesus who rebuked the wind and raging waters and the storm subsided.  

Jesus demonstrated his authority over creation and in his resurrection he showed his power over death (John 1 verses 19 to 22).   This the disciples recalled after he arose from the dead and they believed.   May it be so for those who mourn the loss of loved ones today.