Day 19 – the women inspirers

Today was a vivid reminder of the dangers facing officers on a daily basis. It was the 13th anniversary of the death of Police Constable Sharon Beshenivsky. Sharon was killed by armed robbers in Bradford, where I started my police career over 20 years before.

She died nine months into her career and on her daughter’s fourth birthday.

It is a strong reminder of why I am doing this challenge – relatives need a place of peaceful reflection, to remember and pay tribute to their loved ones. Sharon’s family will receive a leaf cut from the memorial we intend to build next year.

The police service needs a memorial where events can be held to bring together relatives, friends and colleagues.

And we as a nation need to build this memorial to say thank you to all who put themselves in danger to protect us.

If her death was not inspiration enough, plenty of other women helped push me to complete my challenge.

Winter is close and today was a reminder that I have chosen to complete my 100 triathlons at the worst time of the year.

As the bitter winds made today very tough, the support I received was equal to it. Before setting out, a couple of very welcome donations saw the total raised so far exceed £1,000. And as I ran into the wind a woman running in the opposite direction recognised me from local publicity. Her praise gave a boost but it also gave me inspiration.

Despite the very cold start to the day, I couldn’t help notice that she was just one of many women taking to the roads. Another who looked well into her 70s was grimacing as she rode her bicycle against the wind and reminded so me of my grandmother.

How times are changing and women of all abilities are doing their thing, many starting much later in life. The only men I saw this morning were in the gym, so many preening and strutting in front of mirrors.

I wish I had offered support back to the woman who recognised me, as she too is breaking her own barriers and her effort this day was clearly just as worthy of praise.

Each day takes a huge amount of effort and day 19 was a tough one. Another three hours of solid exertion gives you time to think about wider issues as you can see. But support and inspiration is vital. So thanks to everyone who is beginning their fitness journey, I know how difficult that can be for you – your achievement is motivation.

Today I paid tribute to all the officers and staff who died on November 18. These were:

1858 – Police Constable William Wilson – Metropolitan Police

1944 – Police Constable John Yates – Liverpool City Police

1972 – Chief Inspector Trevor Smith – South Wales Constabulary

1979 – Police Constable John Davidson – Royal Ulster Constabulary, GC

2004 – Police Constable Jonathan Green – Durham Constabulary

2005 – Police Constable Sharon Beshenivsky – West Yorkshire Police

Please support my effort to complete 100 Olympic-distance triathlons in 100 days by donating at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Paul-Lander3

Thank you.

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