No Limits

The life of Craig Percival

For donations over $1000 please (a) use the following account (Account Name: Craig Percival Memorial Trust, BSB: 182512, Account #: 965000607) to deposit directly to the trust and (b) notify trustee(at)craigpercivalmemorialtrust.com on successful transfer

I recently had the unenviable task but honour of eulogising Craig Percival at his memorial. For those who hadn’t heard or didn’t know, Craig Percival, 45 years of age, died as a result of a postoperative complication (massive pulmonary embolus) that caused catastrophic global brain injury on Sunday 4th December. Craig was a husband to Lindell, father to Sam and Sienna, and a son, a friend and a coach. He was also hero to many. The following is a close reproduction of what I had to say.

I knew Craig for 16 years. The first eight as a triathlete, the second eight as his doctor and now I’ll have to do the last eight with him in absentia.

And that’s not right. It’s just not right.

A 45-year-old man, brimming with recent physical success and a realisation that his best years were ahead of him. He knew this to be true. His coaching was booming - he had finally found his calling.

But it’s not right. It’s just not right.

That Lindell, Sam and Sienna will have to soldier on without his constant care and love as their husband and father. Sam will miss the wrestles, Sienna the cuddles. Lindell her constant companion.

And that’s not right. It’s just not right.

Equally, it just wasn’t right that he was so gob-smackingly talented! Indefatigable. Long limbed and gangly in the water, yet efficient by land. Like an automaton. A triathlon terminator!

So I tried to distil Craig by three of his outstanding character traits: Selflessness; Equanimity; and Masochism.

Selflessness: Disregarding oneself or ones own interests; unselfish.

This is quintessential Craig. In consults at the clinic (which I had to virtually beg him to attend!), we would talk about intimate medical details and I would try to assess how he was getting on…only to be interrupted by him asking,” But how are you going mate?”

Equanimity: Mental composure, evenness of temper especially in misfortune.

Craig was the epitome of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’. If you can keep your head while those around you are losing theirs. His knee was clearly a source of great pain to him - day and night, but he was able to shake it off. He was even able to wryly smile and shake his head while I was plunging a needle deep in his foot ... equa-effing-nimity!

Masochism: the enjoyment of what appears to be painful or tiresome.

This is exactly why Craig did 8in8in8. He felt best when he was physically working…mind floating. But he was also masking emotional pain, that the experience of 8in8in8 helped relieve. He loved life but it wasn’t straight forward. In a bittersweet way he was more optimistic about life in the last couple of months than he had been in years.

The world loses good people all the time, but Craig’s loss is one of the greats. Forget Bowie, Prince or Leonard Cohen ... we had a real legend living with us for 45 years.

Thanks Craig for your masochism, equanimity and selflessness. We will not forget you.

And as with any hero, we gloss over the imperfections to round out our expectations of a hero’s epitome. He was a hero to many because of what he did on various triathlon courses around the globe. His palmares are extensive for endurance triathlon, cycling and running. But Craig was just a lovely guy with a big heart and some hidden scars.

Many athletes will have met Craig without knowing it was him. For over 10 years he was an easy-smiling, gangly man fitting suits at the Aqua Shop tent at every Ironman and Half around Australia. I don’t know how many times I heard him greet someone with a familiar, “Hello mate!” He and the wonderful Nicole gave personality to the brand and sold more Blue Seventy suits each day than was humanly possible! Despite his elite athletic background, Craig served everyone with care and attention. He knew that everyone’s race was important to them and projected sincerely that it was also important to him. This was a quality that made him a great coach. And a great friend.

Lindell, Sam and Sienna are now carrying on without their husband and father, and they need your help. For donations to a trust being set up for their welfare, please visit click on the donate button at the top of this page or click on this link. There will be events in March and beyond that will entrench Craig’s memory as an endurance legend in Australia and thanks in advance for your support.

Craig’s athletic achievements include:

  • 2nd place 2014 Ultraman World Championship
  • Ironman PB 9:02
  • 3rd Ultraman Canada
  • 4-time Ironman Hawaii finisher
  • 16-time Ironman finisher
  • 8in8in8

For anyone with depression or symptoms of anxiety, please seek help. Call Lifeline 131114. Call a local GP, get a mental health care plan and see a psychologist. Talk with your loved ones and trust their council.

No Limits