How to raise an athlete.

By Andy Blow | 5 Minute Read

We've been working flat out on something quite exciting recently (keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks...) and so when Andy remembered late on Friday that it was Father's Day this weekend, naturally we all panicked. Luckily we just happen to know our dad's sweat sodium concentrations and have pretty easy access to some top-notch hydration products, so a crisis was averted ;-) 

We got to talking about how our dads had influenced and encouraged us to excel in sport and decided we'd use this blog of ours to say thanks to them for all that they've done for us...




The Blows at the track

#91 My dad. And I'm #352... (Image: Andy Blow ©)


My Dad has always been a huge part of my sporting life. I honesty don’t think he missed a single football match, cross country run, or any of my early triathlons when I was a teenager living at home. He could always be relied upon for a dextrose energy tablet 5 minutes before the start of whatever event it was and a calm, considered debrief in the car on the way home, even if the result was not what I wanted.


Andy Blow and his old man

My dad and I share a love of lycra... (Image: Andy Blow ©)


As I got older he still came to the big events and was there when I missed a Hawaii Ironman slot by about 20 seconds in Llanberis in 2002 - there was not so much talking on that car journey home! Then he saw the finish line celebrations when I finally bagged a slot 12 months later at Sherborne Castle. He’s still coming to races now (when he’s not out competing himself) and my ambition as a father is to provide just the same kind of unwavering and unconditional support to my little ones as he’s always done for me. So thanks Dad, I couldn’t have done any of it without you.




Jonny Tye and his dad with paddles

 My old man and I generally had a paddle in hand... (Image: Andy Blow ©)

From further back than I can remember my Dad has been a huge influence on my life, in and out of sport. As a very grounded and humble man, few people know of the many notable sporting achievements to his name but Dad was both a successful canoeist and cyclist.

In 1989 he set the Devizes to Westminster canoe race record (125miles) in the C2 category with a time of 18hrs 57mins 45 secs, then switched disciplines in the following year to win a silver medal in the K2 in just under an hour faster! A few years later he switched his attention to riding on the road and, amongst other accolades, he bagged the Worcester St. Johns Cycling Club 12hr TT record of 246 miles, which still stands today! Dad certainly isn't a man afraid of some hard training hours but never shouts about his results.

Like most kids, at a young age I played most sports and it mainly fell to Dad to transport me around to training and events. I think he particularly enjoyed taking me out on my bike and I distinctly remember chasing him around a few 10 mile road TTs (after he had posted his real time!) on my slightly over-sized mountain bike and apparently never being close enough to his back wheel!


Jonny and his dad celebrating double silvers at the World Marathon Championships

Dad and I enjoying the fruits of our labour at the World Marathon Championships. (Image: Jonny Tye ©)


After a close call with my love for rugby, canoeing turned out to be the sport I chased and Dad was a huge part of my development from the very start. He had no particular experience in coaching but spent hours researching training methods and getting technical advice from more experienced coaches to help me progress through the ranks. He was up every morning and back from work for training every evening - until he couldn’t keep up that is :-p - and would never fail to help me keep a level head, even at the most testing of times. We worked together for close to 10 years to pull in two silver medals at the World Marathon Championships and he deserved those medals as much as I did. Thanks Dad, you’re a hero.



Sean O'Mahony and the O'Mahony clan

Not sure what Dad's trying to point out there... (Image: Sean O'Mahony ©)


The O'Mahony clan, as you can imagine from the name, are a family of Irish descent. My dad (that's him on the left with the James Bond bow tie) was a huge fan of rugby and played until he dislocated both his shoulders in his 20's.

He was a huge fan of sport in general and encouraged me to participate throughout my life. Where he had the most influence though was to leave me alone to get on with whatever sport I was involved with at the time. Whether it was swimming, athletics, rugby or football he never took me to training, that was my job. His job was to come and watch the result of the training at competitions.

The effect his behaviour had on me has been profound throughout the rest of my life. I know that if I want to train for something it's up to me to get up at 6 AM and get the job done. Nobody else will do it for me. And for that I'm forever thankful for my Dad.



The Colleys out skiing 

The Colley boys never focused on a particular sport, skiing was one of many that dad encouraged us to try... (Image: Dave Colley ©)


My dad was a keen windsurfer back in the day and one of my earliest memories is of watching him go out on the marine lake.  But he never focused on a particular sport and as kids we were encouraged to try many different sports. I don't ever recall being refused a tennis racket, a basketball, or whatever gear was needed for whatever our latest interest was. Our garage was full of the stuff, we even had a little pico sailing boat at one point.

He took me to my football matches until he stepped in to manage my younger brothers team so that the team didn't fold. I'm not sure he massively enjoyed being a manager - with all the pushy and aggro parents on the sidelines - but he did it anyway so my brother could carry on playing. One thing is for sure, it was always about the fun and the taking part that counted for my dad - but maybe that's because we never particularly excelled in any given sport! - and I like to think that that inclusive, team-spirited approach rubbed off on me and has served me well in other aspects of life.

Our family holidays and weekends were always active, generally involving some cycling, and my dad is now pretty decent on two wheels, you can often find him near the top of the Precision Hydration Strava group! I've got many fond sporting memories with my dad. From summer evening games of golf after school/work to more recent challenges like the Three Peaks and our own little 'Tour de France'.  

Thanks Dad, Happy Fathers Day.


A typical Colley family cycling holiday.

Colley family holidays were always active! Think dad's trying to be arty there getting us to look off into the distance. Mum didn't get the memo... (Image: Dave Colley ©)


If, like us, you have your dad to thank for your sporting successes and, like us, you remembered Fathers Day a little too late this year, why not say thank you by helping him stay hydrated when it counts. 

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