Find an Event

Inspired to #TriLikeMe?

Search over 1000 permitted events to find your next challenge!

Ironman Journey| Y Siwrne Ironman – Kevin Hamilton

Published:

This journey began for me some 27 years ago, when, at the age of 30, I went for my first run, having given up the habit of smoking up to 30 cigarettes per day some 4 months previous. That was one of the turning points in my life for sure, many more were to follow.

6 months on from this, a group of friends, yes friends, entered me into a triathlon, without me knowing! That gave me 3 months to learn how to swim! From that moment on I was hooked, this world of triathlon was well and truly part of my life, a new perspective and outlook, with new goals, targets, becoming a daily routine. Training and competing was so thrilling, I loved every second of it. As the training and racing improved, new opportunities came up, travelling the world as part of the Welsh and GB team, became part of our lives as a family. Indeed, there was an extension to our family now, this crazy bunch of triathletes who I met along the way became friends as well as rivals, to this day I can honestly say that they remain a huge part of my life.

Having been so lucky and achieved so much in triathlon, yes, you have guessed it, the word “Ironman” began to creep into conversations with friends. Soon the decision was made to enter the first Ironman event in Bolton and training began, as my best friend and I spent hours, days, weeks and months training, planning, organising the whole experience of what was going to be the ultimate event and experience. I did get to this event, not quite as planned, but hand on heart, I was so thrilled and proud to be there, on that finish line with the family and friends, watching him cross that line, our world-famous Welsh flag in hand, fantastic memories.

My training for this event was going brilliantly, no niggles, injuries to speak of, it was coming together as they say. March the 15th 2009, was, the day my life changed, and yes, another turning point, where tough challenges lay ahead for my family and myself. My accident, whilst out cycling with friends, in preparation for the Bolton Ironman, which has been documented and spoken about in great detail over the years, threw up some tough times for my family, friends and those around me. There are so many memories from that day, from the people who found, me, helped me and reassured me, however, one memory that sticks with me from that day, and makes me angry with myself for thinking and asking it, was the moment, in the Air Ambulance, when I asked the medical team;

“Please give me something for the pain, or let me die.”

The physical pain was indescribable and remembering back now, as I lay there, reaching over with my right arm and hand, with the intention of grabbing a branch to pull me from the road, to looking up, only to see that my arm was not there, it was shattered and hanging limp from the elbow. That was the point that I closed my eyes, only opening them again when the trauma Surgeon told me that she was off to see the tour de France later that year. That reaction and my comment were, in her words; “The signal we needed that he was a fighter.”

Oh yes, what did I say? Not my proudest moment, I called her;

“A lucky [redacted] Lady, hope you enjoy it!”

The injuries sustained on that day were life-threatening and life-changing. My right arm had been broken in two places, with flesh ripped away and to put it bluntly, was indeed hanging off. My right hip joint had been pushed through into my pelvis, shattering the pelvis in numerous areas. Flesh and muscle had been ripped away from my thigh and buttocks, leaving the hip bone area exposed. The first few days were indeed, touch and go, with discussions about not walking again, possibly losing my leg, being the biggest concern. The treatment was relentless, indeed I was in and out of surgery every day for the first 2 months. The initial surgery was 14 hours to plate the bones in the arm, repair and skin graft hip area. Due to the injuries, surgery on the hip was not possible, due to infection concerns, therefore the decision was made to put the leg in traction and see how things developed. Despite all these injuries, the one thing that I struggled with mentally, was the fact that I had a stoma applied on my bowel, due to the location and severity of the injuries. As the weeks passed and the body responded well to treatment, I grew stronger and we knew that I would recover and we would see what the future held.

The care, treatment and support I was given following the accident has been and indeed remains so, incredible, from family, friends and all the medical staff, who have now become lifelong friends, all of whom, without a doubt have and continue to keep me going.

Having spent three months in hospital, regular visits, check-ups etc. the battle continued over the following years. Further surgery followed for various reasons, indeed there has not yet been a year that a hospital visit, for surgery, check-ups, has not taken place, who knows, maybe 2021 is that year.

I kept a journal during my three months in hospital, this was a daily account of what and how I was feeling, coping and responding to all that was going on. Another great friend, unscrambled my garbled notes, putting it into some kind of sense. I do revisit this every now and again, especially around this time of year. Without fail, every year, I receive a simple, but important message from this friend, just as a little reminder, Thank you x. 

The treatment continued, however, training and a re-focus became apparent. Discussions were had, indeed if memory serves me correctly, it was a drunken evening in Berlin, with family and friends, and yes, we did bring up the subject of Ironman once again. Our minds were made up, planning, preparation, training all began again as Ironman Sweden became the focus.

Training, planning, indeed everything went well and the dream finally, became reality. We had a tough gruelling eight to ten months of training, constant pain and doubt were there, but my sheer determination, support from everyone around me, pushed me through. All the pain, anger, doubt and disappointment of all that had happened were pushed to the back of my mind as I crossed that finish line, Welsh flag in hand, my family and friends there to support me, once again.  There were no targets for that day, other than to survive and finish, crossing that line in twelve hours and thirty minutes was a complete shock, never in my wildest dreams did I think that was achievable, even under “normal” circumstances, let alone now, after all, that had happened. The celebrations went on for some time, as you can imagine.

As the various treatments continued, I did have this feeling deep inside, that there could be one more opportunity and another Ironman could be done. Again and yes, following a few beers after a triathlon in Cardiff, my same trusted friend agreed to do it and not only did he agree, two more friends decided to join us, crazy people! The training for this was was tougher, my body was certainly feeling it more and more, but this little voice kept pushing me along and I kept reminding myself of a quote, which I borrowed and adapted and to this day, keep reminding myself of;

“Pain can last for 30 seconds, three minutes, three hours, three days, three weeks, three months, three years, but giving up will be with you forever.”

The big day arrived for us in Holland, nerves, anticipation, doubts all the usual things going around in my head. Once in the water, however, that was it, focus on the task at hand. As the day developed and as the four of us crossed paths throughout the day, I knew that the finish line would be and yes, it was crossed once again. Job done, no more challenges, all had been achieved, or so I thought!

As part of my Triathlon world, I was also lucky enough to become a coach and have had the honour and privilege of working with so many amazing people along the way. Seeing them, initially getting to that start line, which can in itself be tough, then crossing that finish line, knowing that they were now part of this amazing triathlon family. Indeed, not only triathlon coaching but helping individuals with fitness and wellbeing has and continues to be a huge part of my life and I  continue to coach and work with Cerist tri club and to this day, I still love it.

As I said at the beginning, my hope is, that treatment, hospital visits will not be needed for a while, however, should circumstances change, then I will face them as I have done in the past.  I recall my last check-up in Hospital in October 2020, when called through to see my consultant, I walked past him, not recognising him. He called me back, grinning at me at said;

“This is your fault, Kevin. After I replaced your hip, extended your leg by ½ inch and tidied up your pelvis. I thought to myself, get off your arse and do something.”

What he had done, inspired by me apparently, was to start training and running. 12 months after my treatment, he had lost almost 4 stone in weight and was loving his training, and yes we both shed a tear or two and shook hands. So yes, when I post pictures, comments on social media etc. it is not to show what I have done, it is there simply to remind you that;

“Anything is possible.”

Will I now sit and look back at what has been achieved and done, no chance. There are new challenges and yes, one of these could be another Ironman. The perfect scenario would be an event in New Zealand, with my Granddaughter there on the finish line handing over an “Iron Taid” t-shirt. That will be discussed and planned I am sure.

______________________________________________________________________

Dechreuodd y siwrne i fi tua 27 mlynedd yn ôl. Yn 30 oed, mi es i redeg am y tro cyntaf, ar ôl rhoi’r gorau i ysmygu 30 sigarét y dydd tua 4 mis cyn hynny. Dyna un trobwynt yn fy mywyd, roedd llawer mwy i ddod.

Ymhen 6 mis, dyma grŵp o ffrindiau, ie ffrindiau, yn fy nghofrestru ar gyfer Triathlon, heb i mi wybod! Dyna 3 mis felly i ddysgu nofio! O hynny mlaen, roeddwn i wedi fy machu, roedd y byd Triathlon wir yn rhan o fy mywyd, gan gynnig perspectif ac agwedd newydd, ac amcanion a thargedau newydd, a dod yn rhan o’r routine dyddiol. Roedd gwefr i ymarfer a chystadlu, roeddwn i’n caru pob eiliad. Wrth i’r ymarfer a’r rasio wella, daeth cyfleoedd newydd, a theithio’r byd fel rhan o dimau Cymru a Phrydain yn dod yn rhan o’n bywyd fel teulu. Yn wir, roedd estyniad i’r teulu bellach. Daeth y criw Triathlon gwallgof y gwnes i gwrdd â nhw ar hyd y ffordd yn gyfeillion ynghyd â bod yn gystadleuwyr, ac maent wedi parhau’n rhan enfawr o fy mywyd hyd heddiw.

Ar ôl bod mor lwcus a llwyddo gyda chymaint mewn triathlon, dechreuodd y gair “Ironman” ddod i mewn i’r sgyrsiau. Yn fuan, penderfynwyd rhoi tro ar yr Ironman cyntaf yn Bolton, a dechreuodd yr ymarfer, gyda fy ffrind gorau a minnau yn treulio oriau, dyddiau a wythnosau yn ymarfer, cynllunio a threfnu’r holl brofiad ar gyfer y digwyddiad a’r profiad mawr. Fe wnes i gyrraedd y digwyddiad, ond ddim cweit fel oeddwn i wedi’i fwriadu, ond gyda fy llaw ar fy nghalon, roeddwn i wrth fy modd, ac mor falch o gael bod yno, ar y llinell derfyn gyda theulu a chyfeillion, yn ei wylio’n croesi’r llinell, gyda’r ddraig goch yn ei law. Atgofion arbennig. 

Roedd yr ymarfer ar gyfer y ras yn mynd yn wych, dim poenau nac anafiadau gwerth sôn amdanyn nhw – poeth yn dod at ei gilydd. Mawrth y 15fed, 2009, oedd y diwrnod y newidiodd fy mywyd, ac ie, trobwynt arall, a heriau enfawr yn wynebu fy nheulu a minnau. Daeth y ddamwain tra roeddwn allan yn beicio gyda ffrindiau i baratoi ar gyfer Ironman Bolton, ac rydw i wedi ei thrafod yn fanwl dros y blynyddoedd. Ond arweiniodd at amseroedd caled iawn i fy nheulu, fy nghyfeillion a’r rheiny o’m cwmpas. Mae cymaint o atgofion o’r diwrnod hwnnw – o’r bobl ddaeth o hyd i mi, fy helpu i a thawelu fy meddwl, ond mae un atgof yn aros yn y cof o’r diwrnod hwnnw, ac yn fy ngwneud yn flin â fi fy hun am hyd yn oed meddwl a gofyn am y peth, sef yr eiliad yn yr Ambiwlans Awyr pan holais i i’r tîm meddygol;

“Plîs, rhowch rhywbeth ar gyfer y boen, neu gadewch i mi farw.”

Alla i ddim disgrifio’r boen gorfforol, ac ryw i’n cofio, wrth i mi orwedd yno, gan estyn fy mraich a fy llaw dde i geisio gafael yn y gangen i fy nhynnu o’r ffordd, edrychais i fyny a gweld nad oedd fy mraich yno. Roedd yn yfflon, yn hongian yn llipa o’r penelin. Dyna pryd wnes i gau fy llygaid, a pheidio â’u hagor tan i’r llawfeddyg trawma ddweud ei bod yn mynd i weld y Tour de France y flwyddyn honno. Fy ymateb, a fy sylw oedd, yn ei geiriau hi; “Yr arwydd roedden ni ei angen ei fod yn ymladdwr.”

O ie, beth ddywedais i? Dim fy eiliad orau, be wnes i ond ei galw yn;

 

“Ddynes F!!!!!!!!! lwcus, gobeithio wnei di fwynhau!”

 

Roedd yr anafiadau y diwrnod hwnnw yn rhai wnaeth beryglu a newid fy mywyd. Roedd fy mraich dde wedi’i thorri mewn dau le, a’r cnawd wedi’i rwygo i ffwrdd, ac i ddweud yn blaen, roedd yn hongian i ffwrdd. Roedd fy nghlun dde wedi’i wthio trwodd i fy mhelfis, gan chwalu’r pelfis mewn nifer o leoedd. Roedd cnawd a chyhyrau wedi’u rhwygo oddi ar fy nghoes a fy mhen ôl, gan adael asgwrn fy nghlun yn y golwg. Cael a chael oedd hi am y diwrnodau cyntaf, gyda thrafodaethau am beidio â cherdded eto, a cholli fy nghoes o bosib, yn bryder mawr. Roedd y triniaethau’n ddi-baid – llawdriniaethau bob dydd am y 2 fis cyntaf. Roedd y llawdriniaeth gyntaf yn 14 awr i roi platiau ar esgyrn y fraich, trwsio a grafftio croen i’r clun. Oherwydd yr anafiadau, doedd llawdriniaeth i’r clun ddim yn bosib, oherwydd y perygl o heintio, felly penderfynwyd mai traction fyddai orau i’r goes, a gweld sut fyddai pethau’n datblygu. Er gwaetha’r anafiadau, yr un peth ges i drafferth ag ef yn feddylio; oedd y stoma i’r perfedd, oherwydd lleoliad a difrifoldeb yr anafiadau. Ond wrth i’r wythnosau fynd heibio, roedd y corff yn ymateb yn dda i’r driniaeth, roeddwn yn cryfhau ac roeddwn yn gwybod y byddwn yn gwella, a byddem yn gweld beth fyddai gan y dyfodol i’w gynnig.

Roedd y gofal, y driniaeth a’r gefnogaeth ges i yn dilyn y ddamwain, ac yn parhau ers hynny, yn anhygoel gan fy nheulu, fy nghyfeillion a’r staff meddygol, sydd bellach yn ffrindiau oes. Mae nhw i gyd, heb amheuaeth, wedi fy nghadw i fynd.

Ar ôl tri mis yn yr ysbyty, ymweliadau rheolaidd, archwiliadau ac ati, parhaodd y frwydr dros y blynyddoedd canlynol. Roedd triniaethau eraill i ddilyn am wahanol resymau, ac yn wir, does dim blwyddyn wedi bod eto heb ymweld â’r ysbyty, i gael triniaeth neu archwiliad. Pwy a ŵyr, efallai mai 2021 fydd y flwyddyn.

Cadwais ddyddiadur yn ystod y tri mis yn yr ysbyty – cyfrif dyddiol am beth a sut roeddwn i’n teimlo, ac ymdopi ac ymateb i bopeth oedd yn digwydd. Fe wnaeth cyfaill gwych arall ddadansoddi’r nodiadau i wneud synnwyr ohonynt. Rydw i’n mynd nol atynt o bryd i’w gilydd, yn enwedig yr adeg yma o’r flwyddyn. Bob blwyddyn, yn ddi-ffael, ryw i’n cael neges syml, ond pwysig gan y cyfaill hwnnw, fel nodyn atgoffa bach, Diolch yn fawr x. 

Roedd y driniaeth yn parhau, ond roedd angen ffocws newydd i’r ymarfer. Cafwyd trafodaeth, ac os ydw i’n cofio’n iawn, ar noson feddwol yn Berlin, gyda theulu a chyfeillion, cafodd yr Ironman ei grybwyll unwaith eto. Dyna ni, roedd y penderfyniad wedi’i wneud. Dechreuodd y cynllunio, y paratoi a’r ymarfer eto, wrth i’r sylw droi at Ironman Sweden.

Aeth yr ymarfer, y cynllunio, ac yn wir popeth yn dda, a daeth y freuddwyd yn realiti. Cawsom wyth i ddeg mis caled o ymarfer, poen cyson ac amheuon, ond roedd y penderfyniad a’r gefnogaeth gan bawb o’m cwmpas yn fy ngyrru ymlaen. Aeth yr holl boen, dicter a siom am bopeth oedd wedi digwydd i gefn fy meddwl wrth i minnau groesi’r llinell, y ddraig goch yn fy llaw, a fy nheulu a’m cyfeillion yno i’m cefnogi, unwaith eto.  Doedd yna ddim targed ar gyfer y diwrnod hwnnw, dim ond goroesi a gorffen, ac roedd croesi’r llinell mewn deuddeg awr a hanner yn sioc llwyr. Wnes i erioed ddychmygu y gwnes i gredu y byddai hynny’n bosibl, hyd yn oed dan amgylchiadau “arferol”, heb sôn am rwan, ar ôl popeth ddigwyddodd. Aeth y dathlu yn ei flaen am gryn amser, fel allwch chi ddychmygu.

Wrth i’r gwahanol driniaethau barhau, roedd gen i ryw deimlad ym mêr fy esgyrn, fod yna un cyfle arall, a bod Ironman arall yn bosibl. Unwaith eto, ac ir, ar ôl ambell beint yn dilyn Triathlon yng Nghaerdydd, fe gytunodd yr un cyfaill da i’w wneud efo fi, ac nid dim ond fo, ond penderfynodd dau arall ymuno â ni, bobl wallgof! Roedd yr ymarfer ar gyfer hwn yn anoddach, roedd fy nghorff yn ei deimlo fwy a mwy, ond roedd llais yn fy ngyrru ymlaen gan fy atgoffa o ddyfyniad rydw i wedi’i fenthyca a’i addasu, ac hyd heddiw, rydw i’n dal i fy atgoffa fy hun;

“Gall poen bara am 30 eiliad, tair munud, tair awr, tri diwrnod, tair wythnos, tri mis, tair blynedd, ond bydd rhoi i fyny yn parhau am byth.”

Cyrhaeddodd y diwrnod mawr yn yr Iseldiroedd, gyda’r nerfau a’r disgwyliadau yr amheuon a’r holl bethau arferol yn mynd trwy fy mhen. Ond gynted roeddwn i yn y dŵr, dyna hi, roedd y ffocws i gyd ar yr hyn roedd angen ei wneud. Wrth i’r dydd ddatblygu, ac wrth i lwybrau’r pedwar ohonom groesi ar hyd y dydd, roeddwn yn gallu darlunio’r llinell derfyn, a do, fe wnes ei chroesi eto. Dyna ni, dim mwy o heriau, roeddwn i wedi cyflawni be oeddwn i eisiau, neu dyna roeddwn i’n ei feddwl!

Fel rhan o fy myd Triathlon, rydw i wedi bod yn ddigon ffodus i fod yn hyfforddwr hefyd, ac wedi cael yr anrhydedd a’r fraint o weithio gyda chymaint o bobl anhygoel ar hyd y ffordd. Eu gweld yn cyrraedd y llinell gychwyn, all fod yn her ynddi ei hun, ac yna’n croesi’r llinell derfyn, gan wybod eu bod bellach yn rhan o’r teulu Triathon. Yn wir, nid dim ond hyfforddi triathlon, ond mae helpu pobl gyda’u ffitrwydd a’u lles wedi bod ac yn parhau yn rhan enfawr o fy mywyd. Rydw i’n dal i hyfforddi a gweithio gyda Chlwb Triathlon Cerist hyd heddiw, ac rydw i wrth fy modd.

Fel y dywedais ar y cychwyn, y gobaith yw na fydd angen triniaethau ac ymweliadau â’r ysbyty am dipyn. Ond os bydd yr amgylchiadau’n newid, mi fydda i’n wynebu hynny fel rydw i wedi’i wneud yn y gorffennol.  Dwi’n cofio fy archwiliad diwethaf yn yr ysbyty yn Hydref 2020, ac wrth gael fy ngalw i weld yr Ymgynghorydd, fe gerddais heibio iddo, heb ei adnabod. Fel alwodd fi yn ôl, gan wenu arna i a dweud;

“Dy fai di ydi hyn, Kevin. Ar ôl i fi roi clun newydd i ti, gwneud dy goes  hanner modfedd yn hirach a thacluso dy belfis, mi feddyliais: coda oddi ar dy ben ôl a gwneud rhywbeth.”

Yr hyn roedd o wedi gwneud, a minnau wedi’i ysbrydoli mae’n debyg, oedd cychwyn ymarfer a rhedeg. 12 mis ar ôl fy nhriniaeth, roedd o wedi colli bron i 4 stôn ac wrth ei fodd yn ymarfer, a do, fe gollodd y ddau ohonon ni ddeigryn neu ddau ac ysgwyd llaw. Felly ie, wrth i mi rannu lluniau a sylwadau ar y cyfryngau cymdeithasol, dim i ddangos be dwi wedi’i wneud ydi hynny, ond i’ch atgoffa fod;

“Unrhywbeth yn bosibl.”

Fydda i’n eistedd i lawr ac edrych nôl ar yr hyn rydw i wedi’i gyflawni? Dim gobaith. Mae heriau newydd i ddod, ac efallai y bydd Ironman yn un ohonyn nhw. Yr un perffaith fyddai un yn Seland Newydd, gyda fy wyres yno ar y llinell derfyn i roi crys t “Iron Taid” i fi. Mae hynny i’w drafod a’i gynllunio dwi’n siŵr!

Thanks to our Partners

Join Us

And enjoy insurance benefits, race licensing and more...