"To TO and Beyond".
We catch up with David Bennett, East Region Technical Official (TO) for 2017, to find out how and why he became a TO, what he makes of it and where he plans to go with officiating in the future.
What were you doing prior to being a TO?
Prior to becoming an Official TO with BTF I was volunteering to assist at races where my Wife was participating both local shorter courses and IM events. It was so rewarding that I decided to do it officially.
What inspired you to be a TO?
It would have to be my Wife, Liz, as she has been competing for many years, back when there were only a dozen or so competitors using Mountain Bikes and Bikes with wicker baskets on the front, transition being in the School Tennis courts. We still bump into some of those early competitors today and reminisce about the good old days or not as the case may be.
Has it been what you were expecting?
Yes, and More. We are extremely lucky in the East as we have a great team steered and kept inline by Sgt Major Jonathan. (He'll love having an Army Rank knowing that he is ex-RAF.)
What do you enjoy about being a TO?
Just the involvement in the Sport and trying to make sure every competitor enjoys their event and comes back for more.
Would you encourage others to become Technical Officials?
Most definitely, but be warned, it's not for the recognition, the money or the uniform. The days can be long and arduous out in the wet, cold and heat. But seeing all ages, shapes and sizes competing together and crossing that finish line still gives me a feeling of being a part of the Triathlon family.
What were the highlights in 2017?
Phew it's been a busy year covering local and afar races from 70 competitors up to over 2000. I always try and vary the races I cover for experience and to keep me attuned to what's actually going on at the coal face.
This year was no exception as I managed to Officiate at Ironman Wales and 70.3 Weymouth which was different to say the least and you don't get many opportunity's to be on the back of a Draft Busting Motorbike, so that was good.
However the shock out of the blue was being privileged to become the East Region Race Official of the year. Now that I didn't see coming and it was an honour to accept on behalf of all the regions Officials and Race Directors. The trophy takes pride of place next to my Wife’s IM Age group Trophy.
What do you hope to do as a TO in 2018 and beyond?
My 2018 Officiating season starts early with the Ashridge Duathlon on Jan 28th so no rest for the Wicked I'm afraid.
I've also been volunteered to join the East Region Committee to see what goes on behind the closed doors, which will give me another piece of the bigger picture of Triathlon which can only be beneficial.
Liz has two races in Europe which I will be sorting out the Logistics for so hopefully they will provide a few days of peace and tranquillity. Not.
Then it's just the usual - assisting Jonathan where needed, attending the Committee and Race Officials Meetings, and all the general day to day challenges that we all face.
My ultimate goal would be to be able to Officiate at some of the high level events and glean further experience within the sport. My next target is being chosen for an NTO course which just gets me one step closer to that goal.