A whatsapp group tracking athletes in East London

There is something quite special about waking up at 10 am on a Sunday. Don’t pretend to know what I’m talking about – none of you have woken up at 10 am on a Sunday in years. I do it regularly these days. And I love it.

But the one and only morning that it felt like little razor blades in my heart was Sunday 29 January – race morning at East London 70.3. I woke up a long while after the team had set off for the day, and had to catch up on a whole lot of results before I could start adding my 10 cents worth on the notorious WhatsApp group chat. Here are some snippets of the mobile tracking that went down….

“Guys, guys, guys…. Who is Jodie Cunnama? She SMASHED that swim!”

“No dude – that’s Jodie-Jodie. She got married. To her coach!! LOL – imagine marrying your coach… SIES!”

“So who’s out the swim? Arné? She must be… Did she beat Jodie?”

“No bro – she didn’t beat Jodie. But she beat ERR’BODY else J J J”

“What about Price? Is he out the water yet?”

“Wahahahaha – dude, you could go and have breakfast, and then lunch, and then wash your car, and Price would STILL be in the water… Just chill. Ain’t nobody seein’ Price for a while still”

“He’ll smash the bike, though. Unless he gets blown off. And has to push it up the hill. Like he did up Llandudno LOL”

“No shame man – that wind was so bad. We can’t mock our mates like that. That’s not what friendship is about”

[Hysterical laughter]

“Guys – Freddie has the 10th fastest bike split at 45km! Like, overall!!!”

“Yeah he’s gonna blow”

“Totes gonna blow”

“Typical frickin ITU athlete – gonna blow”

“Mushroom cloud. Stupid boy”

“Does anyone know how Chris (Bruchhausen) is doing? Surely he’s out the water. Where is he?”

“Chris got sent home with a deadly virus, guys”

“No ways! That’s so hectic! What virus?”

“Apparently he’s got Shingles”

“Yoh. Yeah he’s definitely gonna die. Damn that sucks. So fit and you die from Shingles. I guess when your number’s up, your number’s up….”

“Freddie’s on the run guys! Arné is SMASHING that bike too… She’s looking so strong! And Lawrie is killing it. You know that dude has a CTL of like 130? It’s insane. Looks like most peeps are on the run. GO MTD!!”

“Price is out the water guys! Jeez I’m relieved – was planning the funeral…”

“Did you guys get the SMS from Claire? Freddie has collapsed at 17.4 km… with 3.7 km to go… he’s probably dead”

“Yas, hey. Typical Fred. He has LITERALLY run himself to death. Like, LITERALLY run until he died from it. What a newb”

“Is he OK though?”

“Who knows? This is why ITU athletes shouldn’t be allowed to do long distance races. Because they die from it”

[Hysterical laughter]

“Hey guys… is Bike Guy still doing that 24 hour thing?” (Bike Guy = Brett Kitching, who was part of the UCT team competing in the Oak Valley 24 hour MTB race)

“…Hey??? Is Bike Guy going to be racing East London for 24 hours? But like… what’s the cut-off?”

“17.4 km apparently! LOL”

[Hysterical laugher]

“No, guys. Not OK. Too soon. Too soon”

“Is Freddie OK by the way? Has anyone heard?”

“He’s fine. He’s dossing in the medical tent”

“Well then best he get his sh _ _ together and finish the frickin race”

“Guys! Arné won her age group! OMG OMG OMG!! She won!”

“No dude – it doesn’t work like that. Just because you’re the first person to cross the line, doesn’t mean you’re winner. That’s not how triathlon works”


“Rolling start. So someone who started after her may have still finished in a faster time. We have to give it 30 mins”

“30 MINUTES? Like half an hour? Are you serious?”

“Yip. That’s it works”

[30 minutes later] “So….. do you think she won?”

“She totally won! Guys Arné won! She won her age group! OMG!”

There are few things as rad as watching your mates conquer races via the Iron mobile app. No, OK. Actually there are many, many things better than having to track the people you break yourself with via the internet. But watching their splits and knowing exactly what’s happening in their mind as they grind away reminds you just how well you know them, and just how much they mean to you. You’re absolute rock stars. And we watch you and track you with a huge amount of pride. And FOMO. Well done team. You truly did smash this one.

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