Friday, March 25, 2011

The Young Constable "The Triathlon"

* a collection of stories and memories, in no particular order, from the life and times of John Clarke, who served as a policeman in the Australian Police Force, a great practical joker, he also had a great affinity with people and wildlife, was a champion swimmer, snooker player, loved golf, still loves fishing and is also an artist. I hope you enjoy his recollections - cheers, karin (his daughter)
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The young constable is one of the Century's innocents.  He has no malice in him.  He goes about his business in a quiet and private way, it's just that life's circumstances and strange and weird incidents have a habit of catching up with him. The young constable's father was amazed when he reached the age of 21, and why this is so, we just don't know except we must think that similar stories to those related here must have been occurring during the YC's  lifetime prior to him reaching his majority. Whenever I'm absent for a time one of the first questions I need answered on my return is whether any further Young Constable stories have occurred in my absence. These are some of the stories about the Young Constable that come to mind.  I have written them down as they are too good to allow them to be forgotten.
John Clarke
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In may 1994, the YC had been conned into doing the swim leg for a team in a small triathlon, held in Tweed Heads.  Now, for a small triathlon, this race had well over 500 entrants.  Because of this large number, they divided the entrants into equal groups and sent each group off with a five minute break between them.. All team competitors were to start in the first group.

Prior to the race, the YC had been told by 2 other team members that the race starged at 7am sharp, and to be there well beforehand, YC, the team swimmer being in the first group, had to get there early to get the team off to a good start.

Well, the big day arrived.  There were hundreds of people standing around the starting area.  The other team members had located each other amongst the throng of people, but neither of them had seen or heard from the YC.  About 6.55am, when all the athletes were gathering by the water's edge ready for the start, one of the team members though he'd better do something quickly.  He approached one of the race announcers and asked could he put an announcement over the PA.  Soon the PA blared "If the YC is in the area, could you please come to the announcers area, your team is looking for you."  There was no response.

At 6.59am, one of the team members noticed the YC strolling casually across the grass towards them.  "Where have you been?" the team members cried.  "What's wrong? It hasn't started yet." the YC replied.  "It's about to start now. Get down there!!" they yelled.  The YC stripped off and made his way to the start area.

It's hard to imagine, but for some reason, the YC got his wires crossed.  He was under the impression that it didn't matter which group you started in, as long as you swam the full course and didn't cut any corners or cheat.  So, that's exactly what he did.  He went with the fourth group, which started at 7.20am, swam the full course, before exiting the water and tagging another of his team members for the cycle leg.  What the YC didn't realise was that because all team competitors were supposed to start at 7am, and he didn't start until 7.20am, the computerised timing system didn't take this into account and automatically added 20 minutes onto his swim time and ultimately, the team's time.  Nonetheless, the team soldiered on and eventually finished the race, but because of their early handicap, they were beaten convincingly by a Year 8 girls team from Tweed River High School and a pensioner's team from South Tweed Bowls Club!

The Yc has since retired from triathlon competition.

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