2017 was a tough year in the Sutton household. After a long and debilitating illness I lost my father in October. In many ways he was a remarkable man, capping off a career in education with the award of a CBE (obituary here). The obituary doesn’t mention the fact that he was also a Rugby Union referee and I spent a considerable amount of time as a small child standing on freezing cold touchlines watching groups of blokes grovelling in mud. It hardly inspired me to take up sport. In actual fact, I went to a rugby playing grammar and was good enough to regularly turn out for the second xv, but dropped rugby when I went to uni in favour of squash and distance running. He may not have been a sporting role model, but he certainly showed that through hard work, anything is possible. RIP Dad.

This year also saw a house move for the Sutton’s – just across the fields from Claughton to Farleton. After several years in rented we were finally putting down roots in the Lune Valley. Within a few months of moving in a major Atlantic depression hit north Lancashire causing extensive flooding. The freak blocking of a stream by a wheelie bin at the top of Farleton caused the stream to burst its banks, flooding down the road. We were within inches from being flooded out and lost our carpets and quite a bit of the contents of the garage. Compared to what happened to others in Caton and Galgate it was minor, but nevertheless, a scary and unsettling event.

I already documented my race season in a previous blogpost, suffice to say, despite Ironman number 6 being ticked off, it was a fairly underwhelming performance. The floods and ensuing bad weather throughout December put paid to me hitting my mileage goals for the year. Despite that, I increased my cycling miles by almost 10%, more than doubled my swimming (which, let’s face it, wasn’t that hard to do). Only my running suffered – almost exactly half the mileage of 2016.

Swimming:  2016 35km  2017 79km

Cycling:  2016 5,002km  2017 5,451km

Running: 2016 1,302km  2017 649km