I’m the sort of person who is ‘on duty’ all the time. I’m driven by the desire to share what I know and contribute, however, when I’m not working sport is my passion.


After over 20 years playing the great game, age and ego made me hang up my boots at 40. I sit on the Board of Directors at my local club in Seaford and I’m an accredited RFU Level 2 coach, helping out wherever needed.


Matt completing the Iron ManWhen I stopped playing rugby a fellow veteran suggested we compete in a triathlon. Once I’d stopped laughing I said: ‘Why would I want to do that – I haven’t ridden a bike since my paper round, I can’t swim and I’m a crap runner?’

2 months later I was on the start line in Hastings. Despite clinging to a kayak for 15 minutes while hyperventilating I paddled through the swim with a combination of doggy paddle and ‘head up’ breaststroke, spat out sea water for the entire cycle and lumbered along the seafront in my trainers but…I finished.

In a masochistic way I ended up enjoying bits of the training and over the next couple of years just kept going.  In part I’m sure it was because I’d met some great people who didn’t seem to mind me having no talent whatsoever.

Being a stubborn bast##d I realised that aged over 40 I was never going to get any faster and definitely never going to win anything. I wasn’t really enjoying triathlon but I’d started to like spending more time swimming and cycling but not so much running.  The answer was simple – Ironman.

I trained like a madman for 9 months and in July 2012 crossed the line in Roth, Germany after 13 hours and 48 minutes (you never forget these stats!). I crossed the finishing line feeling strangely empty.  I’d survived this pretty tough challenge, I’d done what I set out to do but as I walked back to my car all I could think was, thank God it’s over.

Intellectually I see it as an achievement but to me it felt empty.  I’m a team player and there was no-one to share it with.  I don’t mean friends and family who gave me inspiration and strength and were proud of my achievement, I mean a team who suffer the pain and experience the joys right alongside you.  The moments when you can’t go on and a team mate lifts you so you can, the times when you see a teammate falter and, without thinking, step in to support them.  That’s what I love.

The Channel Swim

Matt Mid Channel Swim A friend from triathlon completed a Channel swim as part of a small, tight, team effort in 2016. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and talked him into a repeat. We trained for almost a year, making the attempt in July 2017. It was gruelling, exhausting, exciting and far and above the greatest sporting challenge I’ve ever faced.

To ‘win’, which in this context simply means swimming in cold water, non stop until you reach France.  To complete the swim was a herculean mental and physical challenge.  We were all facing our fear of physical failure and more than that, the fear that we would be the one who ruined the attempt for the team.

We’d swum through the shipping lanes and were all sporting itching, painful jellyfish stings as we came ashore near Wissant, Northern France.  We had a group hug on the beach while a few dog walking locals clapped in front of us on the sand.

Late that evening at accommodation overlooking Dover Harbour we shared the most expensive bottle of wine I have ever tasted.  With a mouth full of ulcers it seemed like a waste at the time but the memory and sense of achievement with my 3 teammates will stay with me forever.


I recently met an amazing guy, James Ketchall, who has completed the ‘Ultimate Triathlon’ of cycling around the world, climbing Mount Everest and rowing the Atlantic.

PSSSST – don’t tell Mrs G but the thought of having a crack at one of these is challenges is currently stuck in my head…