It is with great sadness that we have heard of the sudden passing of Graham Matthews – and if that name isn’t familiar to you it’s probably because he has been away from direct involvement with the sport for around 20 years! And, to be entirely honest, he had faded from my memory too as apart from a handful of occasions at events, our paths seldom crossed.
The last time I met him was on a rain-soaked and very sombre day in Bath where Jenny and I had gone to compete in the Bath Triathlon, one of the events in which he was involved as Race Director. The day didn’t work out as planned (we ended up marshalling rather than racing) mainly because Diana Spencer had been killed in a car crash in Paris overnight and nobody really had the stomach for jumping into a rain-swollen river and biking up Bathwick Hill in a gale.
His primary role in the sport was as a Race Director for 220 Series that, back then, comprised Bath, Swindon and Ironbridge with a duathlon on some blasted heath of an airfield like Fairford thrown in to round out the offering. And, as anyone who has taken part in any of those events will tell you, those were the days when legends were forged! My personal favourite being of Greg (Mighty Mouse) Welch stopping mid-Ironbridge run for a cheese sandwich in a pub but there are doubtless many others.
Graham most recently ran a chiropractic clinc in Bath with an additional focus on wellness and clinical nutrition – he was also a coach and mentor, one of the very few vegan triathletes (at least he was back in the 90s) and a certified master baker. They just don’t make them like that any more and the sport is a poorer place without him.