Do you believe in miracles, fate or divine appointment? Or the fact that any one person can make so much difference long after they have left? How about all you have to do is follow your heart and your destiny will follow to make all this happen? I sure believe in all this!!!I’d like to share a very personal story that I hope will really inspire and touch you deeply to what the human spirit of one person is able to achieve. This story is about a man named Lance. Not Lance Armstrong but somebody just as characteristically and charismatically strongly determined who gives so much and asks for nothing in return.This phenomenal story starts in Australia 2 1/5 years ago where Lance, an American, is on holiday seeking to fill a void in his life. Myself a Kiwi, I made the move to Aussie to fulfill my dreams of becoming a professional triathlete, but was living on the bones of my arse, failing and succumbing desperately to sell a Camera on the street for I was starving and owning rent that day. As it happened, Lance couldn’t miss my bright yellow sign saying 'camera for sale' as he wandered off the beach. He said, “sorry I already have two camera’s but I’ll pray that you sell it.” Instantly a friendship was formed and both our life’s took on a whole new dimension and affirmative direction. It’s funny looking back at that first encounter with Lance because at the time I was still praying for a miracle and trying to sell the camera while Lance was sitting right next to me. All along he was the miracle!Lance offered me the dreamlike opportunity of coming to America for training and racing under his support. This turned out to be a very successful endeavor for both of us as I captured victory in major races in the US, such as Wildflower, City of Los Angeles Triathlon and US Duathlon Nationals - due entirely to Lances sponsorship, assistance and friendship. In return this gave him so much joy and enthusiasm for life, a real purpose, reward for his effort and of sense of achievement every time I won or lost - it didn’t matter as long as I tried my best (which is a certainty). It was exhilarating for him – most often I’d collapse at the finish line, he was always there to lift me up again.Lance has to be the most amazing person I have never met. For his thoughtfulness, generosity and vibrant friendly outgoing personality. He is more to me than just a sponsor, manger, photographer, but a second father and best friend. Yet he is an enormous mentor and someone I can always trust and rely on. But nothing I could say would give justice to the exceptionally special person he is. Although actions speak louder than words so the role he’s had in my life says it all.Unfortunately on June 30th Lance died in hospital. His body had been very sick for some time yet he didn’t let on much, as he was too busy unselfishly helping other people. Watching him slowly die through the night after doctors said there’s nothing more we can do, is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. Life is truly very precious!Lance will live on forever because of the positive impact he had on so many people. I especially hope to continue to do him proud and I dedicate the rest of my sporting career to him. My passion has increased a zillion times...I can see myself doing well in Hawaii Ironman, perhaps winning it one day, something that would make him very proud. Lance has given me the break in life I so desperately needed but now I am praying for a new miracle to continue on this journey since my life is now rocky and uncertain without him.I still marvel at the way we met along with tons of people intrigued by us no matter where we went everyone wanted to know. Lance had that story down to a fine art. You know it’s too much of a coincidence to be real, because what were the chances of us both being at the same place at the same time, when we were both from different countries, etc - zillion to one, especially under the circumstances of what I was doing. So that’s what I call divine appointment. It is going to shape the rest of my life and all the people I can influence through being a good athlete and role model - a chain reaction!There is a marvelous destiny out there waiting for you too, but only if you are willing to take chances and put yourself on the line. Living blindly in faith may sound frightening and risky but there is a lot more to give and gain if you follow your heart. You never know when your time is up or somebody close to you - so don’t waste your time to make a difference and truly live!
Daniel Clout (Kiwi fella who speaks his mind!)
Years in Triathlon: First triathlon at age 12
Heart Rate Resting: 32
Coach: Michael Jacques
Go PROFESSIONAL within a few years.
OLYMPICS 2008 is a VERY realistic goal - so I will keep extremely focused on achieving this.