With great sadness I learned of the death of Chris Stirling, a passionate triathlete who was especially fond of extreme events and loved the mountains.
In 2012 he chose Celtman as his very first triathlon and he was all in.
"As soon as I saw it I knew I had to enter, I had zero experience, didn’t own a bike and couldn’t really swim. So I bought an old steel Cougar race bike for £60, my mate Pete hooked me up with a wetsuit and I became a triathlete. It is as easy as that and I try to remember that now. I just got stuck into training and had good friends around that wanted to help out," said Stirling to me in an interview in January of 2018.
He subsequently finished 2nd in that race in 2014 and 2015, and grabbed the overall win in 2017. He also won the Canadaman Xtreme Triathlon in 2017.
But it was not just about racing for him, he very much enjoyed being close to nature and being challenged by it.
Folks who have met him talked about his willingness to help others and that included fellow competitors, and many tears will be shed because he is no longer among us, and maybe because we were unable to help him.
When I interviewed him last year he mentioned struggling with alcohol, depression and drugs during his teen years, and he said that reconnecting with the outdoors back then helped steer him in a different direction. He also said that it has not been all smooth sailing since, but the trend was going up. I never thought much about what that meant, or maybe I simply wanted to see that all was well now. But maybe we all need to listen more closely to what people tell us, and offer help more frequently.
For now however I am hoping that Chris Stirling is resting in peace and every now and then gets to climb a mountain in heaven.
But one thing is for sure, he will be terribly missed here on earth.