The only television programme that I ever plan to watch (in case the rabidly tenacious television license inspector is reading this, I know it is hard to believe but my wife and I really DON’T own a TV!) is the Sports Personality of the Year awards show and I have probably seen every year for the last decade. But I am not sure whether it is me getting older or the programme changing, but I increasingly feel dissatisfied by the shortlists. This year is no exception.
I have never really got on with the ‘Personality’ element of the programme’s title – it is surely about prowess or achievement, rather than personality (I know, I know… that is not what the title is referring to!) but now there seems to be a complete disconnect between what has happened in the sports that I have been following in the last 12 months and what the programme features. But I am not going to get into that debate right now.
The Running and Endurance Sports Performances of the Year awards
Instead I am going to take affirmative action. I am going to start my own awards – the Running and Endurance Sports Performances of the Year awards – or RESPYs – one for men and one for women. And I would like you to nominate your favourites so that by that deadly quiet period between Christmas and New Year, I have a shortlist of athletes whose performances we all believe are worth of praise and recognition and then I’ll set up a vote to pick a winner.
So if you would like to nominate an athlete or two (or more, I am happy with as big a list as possible) please comment on this post or email me at email@example.com with the following;
Name of the athlete
Discipline (or disciplines)
Reason for nomination
The first nominee
As I am the editor here I’ll start the list off with one of my own favourite athletes and someone who I believe deserves huge praise and recognition -
Name of athlete – Chrissie Wellington
Discipline – Ironman triathlon
Reason for nomination – Chrissie Wellington’s year was phenomenal – 5 races, 5 victories (Ironman South Africa, K-Swiss Ironman 70.3, Challenge Roth Ironman, Timberman 70.3 and Ford Ironman World Championships) and for that alone she gets my vote for the women’s Running and Endurance Sports Performances of the Year award. But her last race is so outstanding that it almost defies belief. Already a three time world Ironman champion, Chrissie travelled to Kona having been forced to miss last year’s race through illness. Few doubted that she would return and regain her crown, but that was before she has a tremendous crash on the bike and took most of the skin off her legs a few weeks before the race. Nevertheless, Chrissie turned up at Kona and battled through great pain and discomfort to win an incredible victory. Her account of the race is here. I believe that the last race of the year is justification enough for Chrissie winning the award but add to that her other victories this year and her unstinting work for charity, and I think that Chrissie deserves the inaugural women’s RESPY.