Unlike the current reigning world champion, Jenson Button is not afraid of competing in other sports during the racing season, and it has been announced that the current 2009 title leader will participate in the London Triathlon later this year. Jenson, who turned 29 earlier in the year, will endure a 1500 metre swim, a 40km bike ride before topping it all off with a 10km run around the Docklands area of the UK’s capital.
Despite racing drivers essentially sitting down and only really moving their arms and legs while competing, they are actually incredibly fit athletes who train all year. Formula One drivers need to have strong muscles around the neck and back and their arms and legs take a beating as well from the constant application of the controls under forces of up to 4G.
Last year at Silverstone when the three participating British drivers were answering questions in a press conference, Lewis Hamilton remarked about Jenson’s fitness after learning that his rival had just completed the Windsor Triathlon, finishing in 117th of the 1700 entrants. This led to Button suggesting that both Hamilton and himself should compete in same triathlon to see who is fitter, and the then-Honda driver even promised a sizable donation to charity.
With David Coulthard egging him on, Lewis agreed to the man challenge. However, a couple of hours later Lewis’s father pulled his son from the challenge saying that they had a championship to focus on. Needless to say, it didn’t go down too well with the press.
Fast forward to 2009, and it is Jenson Button who finds himself in a potential championship winning season with a title to focus on. However, with experience comes wisdom, and Jenson being his own man, he has decided that there is little reason why he should not participate in a grueling triathlon. After all, Button is fit and healthy and competing in another discipline could serve to help him.
Of course, it could go terribly wrong, as Mark Webber realised in November when the Australian, while competing in his own Mark Webber challenge in Tasmania, collided with a car while riding his bike. Webber broke a leg and needed surgery to have some metal inserted.
The thing is though, racing drivers are sports people, and competing is in their nature. Button will want to take part in the London Triathlon to push himself further – it is undoubtedly about his own desire to do well rather than the positive media it will generate. Button is also raising money for the ‘Make a Wish Foundation’, and you can sponsor Jenson on his page at the JustGiving.com website.
As you probably know I’ve been taking part in triathlons over the past couple of years as a way of keeping fit for my racing. As we are so busy this year, I won’t be able to do as many triathlons as I would like but thought that I would give the London Triathlon a go.
It’s the biggest triathlon in the world so I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to raise money for a charity that is very close to my heart. Jenson Button.
BlogF1 wishes the best of luck to Jenson, and also to his two engineers who are taking part in the half distance triathlon.