My story begins in London where I grew up attended the local state grammar school. I'm going to start rom 15 years old at the end of my GCSEs, 2000.
During GCSEs one of my best friends was Paul Neville, we had season tickets to Leyton Orient and played an awful lot of football together. We decided to start our own football team with a bunch of friends from school, entering a local U17 league. We finished the season playing all our games, winning the leagues fair play award. We however lost every single game and conceded a lot of goals. Despite this, we continued into our 2nd season and improved a bit. We almost got a draw.
Paul and myself in our Whablow Town kit
During my GCSEs I went on a school ski trip to Tonale in Italy, this was my first ever time skiing and I loved it. At some point during my A-levels I went skiing again to Val Thorens in France with my family.
At the end or yr10, the school arranged 2 weeks work experience for everyone. As an ex-child gymnast of the local gymnastics club, I had arranged two weeks work experience learning to coach gymnastics. Unknown to me back then, these two weeks were the biggest single thing that shaped the rest of my life. At the end of the 2 weeks, I got offered a part time job to stay on coaching and take my qualifications, My interest in gymnastics steadily grew and I went on to base my university choice on the gymnastics facilities they had.
I took A-levels in Chemistry, Physics and Maths. The other notable life long friends I made at high school were Neil Bianchi and Robert Buttwell; also committed members of Whablow Town FC. Robert was one of the star players on the team. He later went travelling, met and a Thai girl who he is now married to living in London. Neil, the overall top goal scorer was also a very successful academic completed two masters in engineering at Oxford University and now works in Burkina Faso on a dried fruit project. Paul has a long term girlfriend and still plays a fair bit of football. During my A-level years, gradually increasing the amount of hours I spent coaching gymnastics, I became increasing interested in doing it again and spent a lot of time working on my physical conditioning.
On finishing our A-levels, a group of us (including Neil and Robert) went on a lads holiday to Magaluf for 2 weeks. Myself and Neil followed this holiday with a 4 week trip to a camp site, La Fonte Close, in France that his family had been visiting for many years. Whilst I was away, my parents moved from London to Hertfordshire. I returned to their new house and then moved straight to Coventry to start university.
I started a degree in civil engineering at Warwick university. Sport dominated my life, especially coaching and training gymnastics. Under the guidance of Tex Cotton at Coventry Olympic GC I steadily improved. By the end of my first university year (2003) I had secured a place working at an American summer camp in Pennsylvania, IGC, coaching gymnastics. The summer was amazing, I learnt more than I could ever have imagined, met loads of amazing people and had some great experiences. At the end of camp, I went on a 2 day road trip from Pennsylvania to Orlando to stay with a friend I'd been living with on site. During my 2 week stay in Orlando we took another road trip to Miami and the Keys, ending up at Key West where we stayed at some random guys house. Each key is linked by quite a large bridge, we stopped on one of these bridges to do a jump into the sea below. It was an incredible experience however we had no idea how strong the current was going to be. After jumping in we found ourselves swimming for our lives, eventually making it to the side where some onlookers were able to throw us a line and drag us up the bank until we found an exit point.
On my return to Warwick university, the gymnastics centre had been knocked down. The lack of facilities this year held back my training; this was a shame, having learnt so much over the summer in some of the best facilities in the world. During my second year at uni, I lived with a guy from my course, Lawrence Rutt. Lawrence is someone I get on well with, he moved to Auckland, NZ working a civil engineering job. I'll be meeting him during my time in NZ.
At Warwick I achieved a 1st class in my degree in both years. I also attended the university xmas ski trip to Val D'isere both years I studied there.
In August 2004 I flew out to Magaluf for my second visit to this delightful place. This time I was alone, staying with a friend I'd met through gymnastics in Coventry. He had got a part in the show, Pirates and was out there for the whole summer season. He stayed in villas with all the other acrobats. I got to see the show and hang out with the cast for a week. The highlight was getting a chance to play on the set and joining in with some of the acrobatics.
Following this I went on a placement year, living at my parents new house in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, commuting to Cambridge to work as the site engineer for the construction of a new shopping area in the centre of town. This was great experience, loved the work but hated the hour commute each day. Whilst working full time I continued my gymnastics training 6 days a week at Marriotts gymnastics club in Stevenage. I also took up high diving. During this year I entered BUSA artistic gymnastics, finishing 8th in the country and also 3m springboard diving, finishing 5th in the country. During this year I met some other great people including Daniel Fair who is now working as a fireman in Hitchin. Danny happened to be the last person I saw before leaving along with another member of the Herts trampoline crew, Charlie Mussino.
In Feb 2005 I went to Chamonix in France for 10 days to stay with another friend I met through Marriotts gymnastics club. He was doing a ski season out there. I got to experience the cheapest ski holiday of my life! In April 2005 I visited the Dominican Republic on an all-inclusive holiday with Robert Buttwell. On the way home I had my camera along with all the pictures stolen out of my suitcase, the memories of this trip are only in my head.
Before going back to uni for my third year, in September 2005 Neil and I set off on a camping road trip around England. We loaded up my car and set off up the A1, heading north up to York. From here we cut across country to Carlisle. We headed back through the lake district and into Wales before cutting back across below Birmingham. We managed to do quite a lot of stuff over the 6 days we had.
With sport still dominating my life I decided that I couldn't go back to Warwick University but instead wanted to transfer to finish my course at Loughborough University, the UK's premier sports university. My proposal was accepted, I started here in 2005 to continue the 3rd year of my course in civil engineering. In my first lesson at the uni I met two other engineers called Paul Sobers and Ben Elliott. Paul is from Barbados, he currently works as an engineer in Bristol. Ben currently works at Sellafield in the lake district. The three of us visited Barbados together in April 2006.
Ben, Paul and myself at a course presentation
In August 2006 I took a trip down memory lane, re-visiting La Fonte Close in France with Neil, the camp site we stayed at for a month 4 years earlier. This time we must have averaged about 5 hours table tennis per day.
During the 2005-2006 year I also met Jonathan Cummings, Alex Pope and Hadley Winthrop. Hadley has since moved to the states to work whilst Pope and JC live in the London area. I kept up the sport and fitness training with increased motivation from the new environment at Loughborough. My fitness improved dramatically and I completed a 4:57 1500m during an athletics meet. At peak fitness I also managed a sub 20 minute 5k in the Stevenage 5k series and a 43:17 in the standalone 10k, a race Neil also entered with me.
That year I became mens captain of the Loughborough students gymnastics team.
Alex was mainly responsible for the improvement in my fitness. He introduced me to a new training technique which we later developed together and named it Tufbra Guy. The training was a 45 minute run around the university campus using the urban environment as a climbing frame and involving a range of exercise drills. This included a sprint up and down the 42 flights of stairs making up Towers hall. I will never be as fit as I was back then doing that training. I come to learn about an event called Tough Guy, an intense cross country obstacle race that Alex and I entered along with thousands of others that year.
Myself, Pope and Hadley pretend to be Chippendales for a night out
Through the student gymnastics club I met a girl called Hannah Pike. Together we entered the Mr and Miss Loughborough competition to perform a semi-naked acro routine on stage. We later found out about a BBC2 television show called 'Let me entertain you' that was looking for new applicants. The program was a kind of talent contest; we auditioned and somehow got through to the live shows. The outcome wasn't very successful but all-in-all it was a pretty fun experience.
Me and Hannah at the end of our routine
During the summer, Hadley and I got a job working as sports instructors at a live in Language school for foreign students in Sevenoaks, Kent. The pair of us had an amazing summer, organising and participating in sporting activities full time. I followed this up for the following 2 summers with the position of recreation director at the same school.
Myself and Hadley performing 'Bye Bye Bye' in the school talent show
The school backed onto a place called Knole park, the absolute perfect training ground for my upcoming Tough guy race. I trained pretty hard for it and got a good result. In your first year racing you have to start at the back behind thousands of people. Psyched about how amazing the event was, I was fired up for the following year knowing that I'd get a great starting position. I trained hard again for another year for the event.
Me racing in tough guy
Later in the summer I went on a last minute cheap package deal to Tenerife with a girl called Jemma Blott, a crucial committee member of the Loughborough students gymnastics club.
In the 4th year of my degree I continued the gymnastics but became more interested in cheerleading, joining Loughborough goldrush, the universities cheerleading squad. I only stayed on the squad for 1 year, following this up with seasons on Unity, Aviators and Topstuntz. I completed my final year project in a new sustainable technology, generating bio-energy from sewage treatment. I finished my masters degree with a 2:1. That year I went on the awesome Loughborough gymnastics club ski trip to Tignes in France and travelled with them for an international students competition in Holland.
Through the cheerleading circle I got a job as a 'Nivea boy' promoting Nivea at the massively popular race for life events. For 3 summers I travelled around the country performing in specially choregraphed dance routines on stage in front of up to 10000 women. Through this, I met another guy doing the same thing called Jimmy Durant. He later went on to become an influencial member of topSTUNTZ Revoltion and an excellent stunter.
On stage during the dance
It was my second summer at the language school where I met Leah St John (an English teacher) who went on to become my girlfriend of almost 2.5 years.
Leah and Me
I spent my time at the school doing better training for tough guy than I had the previous year with my new knowledge of exactly what it entailed. I got a great start position in the race and managed to finish 65th, one of my biggest achievements to date. I entered for the following 2 years (2008 and 2009); as I got heavier and less fit my results diminished to 87th and then 119th. I knew I could never match what I did in 2007 so temporarily stopped running in an attempt to gain muscle mass and get stronger instead.
My time at Loughborough had not come to an end. I decided to return to start a PhD in "ALGAL BIOREACTORS FOR NUTRIENT REMOVAL AND BIOMASS PRODUCTION DURING THE TERTIARY TREATMENT OF DOMESTIC SEWAGE". Before starting my course, I purchased a house that I've now lived in for the past 4 years. I let rooms in the house out to fellow students, after a year I bought another house in the same road, also to let out to students.
This was the last year that myself, JC, Pope and Hadley would all be together. Hadley was now in his final year, JC was technically in his 4th year, but only on the 2nd year of his degree and Pope was retaking his failed 2nd year. Pope had moved into my house, we spent the year playing guitar hero on the cinema I had constructed in my house, training and playing guitar hero. Did I mention we played a lot of guitar hero, we got pretty good at it. Needless to say Pope didn't pass his retake year and sadly got kicked out of Loughborough uni, he moved home to start a new degree at Kingston uni. So by the end of this year, Pope had failed and left, Hadley had graduated and JC went off to do his placement year in London.
This is Alex Pope, a supreme athlete who is also highly intelligent. He's probably one of the most physically elite people I've ever met.
I flew out to meet JC in Abu Dhabi in March 2008. Whilst I was there we took a day trip to Dubai. JC is possibly one of the most entertaining people I've met, his humour and impersonations are second to none.
During this year I had joined Unity Allstars where I met Scott Thurlow. I travelled with Unity to Florida in April 2008 to compete in a competition on Daytona beach. During this trip Scott and I aquired the name 'Scortin' but more on him later.
In Dec 2008 I'd managed to get through about 7 rounds of auditions for the first series of the UK version of total wipeout. This meant getting flown out to Argentina to stay in Buenos Aires for 5 days whilst we filmed the episode. Absolutely loved it.
Myself and Leah then went on that years Loughborough gymnastics club ski trip to Italy.
The group of us at the airport
It was during this trip that I first got myself into a bit of trouble skiing. I'd led Leah, and two another guys on an off piste adventure for the serious skier. Early on I made an uncharacteristic map reading error which took us bombing it down the side of the mountain. Unknown to us at the time this was the wrong side we wanted to be on. I'd realised something was wrong so I consulted my GPS, checked the direction to the villa and the elevation we were at and luckily we'd managed to stop just in time. It was possible to make it back to the town we were staying in but meant we had to traverse cross country around the mountain side through very deep snow a long long long way. As it got colder and started to get dark the others had begun to panic. Eventually we came out 200m below the town we were staying in and had a long hike back up. During the walk back up, being a bit lost, we had to make a decision which way to go. I was adamant it was one way but the others wanted to go the opposite way. Despite having led them all back this far through the wilderness and being the only person with a GPS and having the location of the villa marked, they all decided to go the other way leaving me on my own. No surprise, I'd got back to the villa within the next 10 minutes and alerted all our worried friends that we were safe. An hour later, the others turn up; not very happy at all.
The miserable trekers in an abandoned village we found
The 'path' we were trekking down
Leah and I then flew out to Canada for another skiing trip and family visit in Jan 2009 for 3 weeks. Strangely enough during this trip, Leah wasn't quite so keen to go on any wild off piste adventures with me which meant I had to go alone... even more dangerous. So I got the lift to the highest point and from there hiked up and across the next ridge to tackle some untouched snow through the trees. Now I'm not very good at skiing in powder or through trees so this was quite a challenge and turned out to be the hardest run of my life. At one point I had lost control, narrowly avoided hitting a tree but instead got my ski caught in a tree root under the powder. I'd fallen awkwardly in the soft snow; I wasn't hurt at all but I was just completely stuck. Not being able to move I thought I was going to die in the middle of this deserted forest where clearly barely anyone else skied. Luckily it was still fairly early in the day so I knew I had time to get myself unstuck; eventually I did manage to free myself and then took it a bit easier the rest of the way down. I didn't go back there again.
It was this season (2008-2009) that I joined the newly formed team, Aviator Allstars. Scott, along with a number of other ex-unity members had also transferred to Aviators and as a team we travelled to Germany for a competition. This year we managed to beat Unity to the national title. It was over this year and the next that I became more involved in the UK cheerleading scene. It was at Aviators where I met Nathan Cookson.
Myself, Scott and Nathan
In the summer of 2009 I dreamt up an idea of doing a river / camping trip with a difference. A concept that Scott and I developed over that and the following summer. The idea was simple, we'd take a train to a location upstream of a river, and spend the next 3/4 days travelling down it, each in a toy dinghy, living off the land / river and camping on the river bank. The first summer we did the river Trent and the river Derwent in the peak district, then the following summer (2010) we did the river Thames. We had planned a trip for 2011 but unfortunately the weather wasn't good enough so we went to the lake district camping instead (a trip that Neil Bianchi also attended). The river trips were AMAZING, luckily we documented them all with a video diary.
The Thames - Part 1
The Thames - Part 2
The Thames - Part 3
The Thames - Part 4
By the end of 2009, JC had returned to Loughborough to complete his final year. He'd now managed to have spent every year of his uni life living in student halls. He completed his CMQS degree and has spent the last year after graduating looking for a job. The waiting paid of and he now has the job he wanted.
JC doing what he loves best
In April 2010 I went to Orlando to watch the cheerleading world championships, staying out there for 3 weeks. Got the chance to meet loads of amazing people. I spent some time with members of Team Australia who I will hopefully meet up with again on my visit to Aus.
Me with members of Team China
In Nov 2010 we lost our training venue and couldn't continue TSR. The loss of the training venue was mainly due to a conflict of interests between the venue owner and a separate organisation that had appointed Nathan and I as national squad coaches for team UK. This appointment came after a 6 month struggle, but sadly came a few months too late. By late October it was far too late to form an elite squad to compete at the world championships the following April 2011. This was quickly abandoned.
As I gradually started doing less gymnastics and more cheerleading. I began working out more seriously, joining the university weight lifting gym. Over 2010 I gained 20kg of muscle which I maintained for the most part of 2011. I reached a peak of 95kg but towards the end of 2011 I had slimmed down by 10kg to a more manageable 85kg. During this journey to increase my strength (mainly to improve the partner stunting I was doing at the time) I achieved a couple of PB's. In bench press, weighing in at 89.7kg, I lifted a full rep on 150kg and a few months later, 5 full reps at 140kg. I also cleaned 100kg and Jerked 120kg.
This drastic change to my body seriously affected my CV ability, at one point I couldn't complete a slow 10 minute run. In an attempt to get fit for travelling I have slimmed down and improved my running again; but it's no where close to what it was.
July 2010 and the 3 year funding I was receiving for my PhD had finally dried up. I was now stuck with no income and a non-finished PhD thesis. I got a full time job working for a web development company. My web dev skills improved massively and I gained a huge amount of experience. I had to spend my evenings and weekends writing up my thesis. Worst year ever.
For my final winter in the UK and final year at Loughborough I decided to go on the famous university sno trip to Les Arcs. A memorable ski trip and possibly my last for a while.
During the summer in 2011 I was asked to enter as a ringer in Paul Sobers' company sports day in Cambridge. I got Alex to come along as well. There was a huge range of sports, the day was great fun and I was massively knackered. This was a memorable day as I achieved my PB in the 500m rowing at 1:33.7.
June 30th 2011 was officially the end of my 4th year and the hand in deadline for my thesis. Even having 4 years to complete this piece of work, I was still up the night before in the research hub printing it ready for a rushed submission. I got it in... just, I then had to wait 6 weeks for my viva which I passed with minor corrections, completed my corrections, had my thesis approved, officially handed in the final version on the 18th Oct 2011 and finally became Dr Kendrick. Within an hour of submitting I was driving down the M1 waving goodbye to Loughborough with the stressful prospect of leaving for Tokyo in 6 days for the 8 month trip I'd planned. I do like cutting things fine.
My submitted PhD
Before leaving Loughborough, I sold the 2nd house I bought and have left the management of my 1st property with an agency.