Today has shown that sport is a beautiful beast for more reasons than one might expect. After seeing just how professional and fired up the St James crew are Mark Carter, driver and Championship organiser made an incredible sacrifice to improve the teams chances in the competition. As an 11 year veteran of the British Championships, Mark has built up an extensive list of contacts, one of them being Army and Great Britain driver Lamin Deen, currently ranked 2nd in the country and likely to go to the Olympics in 2014.
Mark approached me at breakfast asking ‘how would you feel about winning a medal?’ and continued to put forward a proposal to ask Lamin to mentor and drive for the boys during the Championships. Considering that Nick had just said that he was looking forward to going faster now that they were going to start pushing as ‘the initial thrill of Bobsleigh had gone’ (that was quick!), I thought that it would be best to ask the boys what they thought… and call Nick’s bluff!
Initially the boys were unhappy about Mark not being involved but once Mark had talked to them and reassured them that he was more than happy to step aside to give them a real chance of winning a medal, they jumped at the idea of working with a potential Olympic athlete.
After meeting ‘Deeno’ at the track the boys upped their efforts to improve their loading sequence while Mark went and talked to another contact, calling in another favour in order to improve the teams chances further. Where success and failiure are measured in hundredths of seconds the equipment is all important. While the Bob itself is of a good standard (and now looks the part in St James School Runnings livery), the runners were fairly bog standard, training runners and would not produce a good time.
Now, if we imagine for a second that the St James team had the second fastest driver in the country AND the runners that the Netherlands team have been using for the World Cup series, they could put in a seriously good time. So that is what Mark arranged, and that is what they did! the St James School Runnings team covered the 1270m course in a time of 57.21 seconds… the 4th fastest of the day!
We started this project in order to push the boundaries of what our boys thought is achievable in sport and indeed in life. From a day at the push start track in Bath to qualifying for the British Championships to the possibility of winning a medal. The incredible positive attitude and professional outlook of our athletes has really had heads turning at the track and is starting to draw media attention too. What they are doing is extremly special, I am a firm believer that if you work hard enough, your efforts will get rewarded. the St James Bobsleigh team is proof of this theory.