2019 Selection has certainly been a selection series I'll never forget! A rougher start with a 3rd place on day 1, a win on day 2 and a JOINT(!!!) win on day 3! We were all a little confused as to what that means in separating Kim and I, but they decide by looking at our worst result from the 3 race series; 3rd for myself and 6th for Kim. Amazed I took the overall win in what is the 1st part of 3 races of Olympic selection. After so little whitewater training in the last 3 months, and beginning this campaign 10 days after Dad's passing, I really didn't expect much from these races and hoped I would just scrape into the top 3 to make the team for 2019. The first race that I can't tell Dad "I won!", but I know he's proud and giving me a little wink from up there!
Well done to everyone putting in some brilliant performances under pressure all weekend. Once again a big THANK YOU to all the volunteers giving up their Easter weekend to give their time to our amazing sport! 📷: @kim_jones_photography
Thank you everybody for your messages since Dad's passing at 02:35 on Wednesday morning. It's been really tough watching him slowly slip away; those 3-4 weeks we were told, became 3 long, long months. Fortunately we were with him when he eventually left to find Scamp who had been waiting for him to come and take him for a walk. They'll be having lots of fun with each other by now!
It's also been hard trying to find some sort of balance between my training and racing and being with Mum and Dad. I'm glad I managed to race all the races so far as he would have wanted. Next weekend, I have the GB selection races; selection for the 2019 team and the 1st part of 2020 Olympic selection. I'm now back home in London to give myself a few sessions back before racing starts on Saturday. I know Dad would be proud that I'm battling on, as he was with all that I have done. I just need to perfect my stone skimming to be anywhere near as good as he was at it!
I'll endeavour to reply to all the messages, but know that they have been appreciated. The funeral will be on Wednesday 24th April at 12:30 at Perth Crematorium and then onto the Huntingtower Hotel afterwards. All are welcome. Family flowers only, but a collection will be made for The Friends of Crieff Hospital. I will soon set up an online fundraiser for all those who wish to donate but are unable to make the funeral. Thanks everyone.
Nigel Pennie - 01.06.1952-10.04.2019
Enjoyed the weekend's racing of Prem Races 4 and 5 at Grandtully. Some challenging "old school" moves at the top of the course taking me right back to the 90's!
Some of the volunteers from the 90's are also still here helping run a race so that we can enjoy some timed runs down the river. The same face has, since the 90's, been there days before the race maintaining and carrying the timing beams to the start and finish and this weekend was also sitting as the finish judge for over 3 hours of the weekend. That same person and his wife carrying a a boarded ladder to create a bridge in order for a judge to get to their position. One, shall I say, veteran section judge who's been doing her volunteer job much longer than I've been paddling, clambering down the precarious far bank so that we could have a fair competition. My Dad who volunteered at the Scottish races for many years is testament to the fact that these people won't be around to do this forever and indeed shouldn't be doing as much as they still do. We need new people to step up! The British Canoeing Programme may provide coaching, support services, water time and a certain amount towards trips for so many of us, but they don't provide judges, timing officials, jury members or race organisers. Mums, Dads, sisters and brothers: we need you! Without this generation of volunteers, we wouldn't have any races, but who will run the races in the next 5, 10, 20 years? If nobody puts their hand up to give even just half an hour at these races then there will be no Canoe Slalom in the UK. Simple as that. It's not scary to do; there are plenty of people to show you the ropes and there's a guide to judging on the Canoe Slalom website. You won't be asked to do anything whilst your child needs you around their run. If lots of people can offer just half an hour of their time then it'll be light work for everyone. Just contact the organiser before the race to offer a hand; there's a job for anyone no matter how much you currently know or how young you are! Nag your parents kids, you need races to still be able to happen!
The win at Lee Valley Prem Race 3 yesterday probably ranks as one of the highest up there in my 61 Prem wins of my career. It was a tough decision as to whether I should risk leaving my Dad's bedside but knew he would want me racing even if it meant it was the last time I would see him.
I made the decision and left at 8am on Saturday, got to my house in Lee Valley briefly to get the grass cut, did a session on the whitewater, weeded the garden, treated the grass, washed the car,(priority jobs!) dinner, bed, early get up, raced 2 runs, prize giving and then hit the road north just in time to show Dad my trophy before his 8pm sleeping tablet. Half a raised eyebrow was enough appreciation for me! I certainly felt a little rusty, but I can't complain after a total of 14 sessions on the course since the start of January and there hasn't been many more on whitewater full stop!
Mum did awesome holding the ship together in Crieff whilst I was gone and @lynsdouglas put up with me being home for all of a few hours; ruined her 3 month (so far) on/off holiday away from me! 😘
@fionapennie on the Olympic Course at @leevalleywwc yesterday
Getting a little too used to this sight! Making the decision to drive south when my Dad is so, so close to the end has not been easy and I know the risk is now huge. I also know he would want me to race tomorrow morning in Lee Valley. The little wink and half fist bump he gave me when I left told me so. 🤜🤛
Tesco Petrol at Lesmahagow is doing very well out of me in the last few weeks as I've been a yo-yo up and down the country!!
Concentration certainly was the tool I had to reach for most often at the weekend at the 1st Prem ranking races of… t.co/bjxZHeufFp
1st Day At School!
I pulled myself away from Dad's bedside to race in Nottingham this weekend for the first Premier races of 2019. Went into it really not knowing what to expect as I've had such a lack of whitewater training since the start of January and I'm certainly not race conditioned! Quite the emotional rollercoaster of a weekend. Below par yesterday with too many penalties for a result to write home about: 10th. Today was a better day having learnt from yesterday what emotions would likely hit me. Came away with 2nd, 0.77secs behind @mallorysfranklin; the winner from both days.
Like a kid at Christmas (it was my Christmas present!) thanks to @peakukkayaking and @lynsdouglas for my new #MarathonH2O, perfect for slinging over my kit for my warm up.
4 years ago today I had lunch with this pretty amazing woman. Since then I've seen her work bloody hard pushing womens sport further into the limelight; demonstrating the growth and increasing sponsorship potential. I've also seen her put up with me the entire time! •
When your training ground today looks like the North Sea, it's time to take the training to the source of the River Earn.
101...102... So thankful to @morrisonsacademy for allowing me back in the school gates to use the Fitness Suite whilst I'm having to be based back at home. A much better space than the rusty box room I remember next to the swimming pool in my day! A good selection of equipment these days!
Starting to think I'll soon be fitting the requirements of a sprint paddler with all this gym and loch paddling and zero whitewater!