I have been training for this for the last twelve years. With the exception of Birgit Felden of Germany in 1984 only the Americans and the Japanese had ever won. This year is going to be my year and I am going to bring the belt back to the UK. The event is forty years old, as am I and weighing in at two hundred and forty pounds how could fate have been any more obvious?
When I first started training I had weighed in at one hundred and forty pounds and managed ten HDBs in the allotted ten minutes. Not even close when you consider that the winner in 2011 managed sixty eight HDBs. I trained hard and focussed but at first Marie thought it was a stupid idea. She said it couldn't be good for my health but it has an officially World Championship, so how can it be bad for you. There are world records and everything. Within a year I was up to twenty eight HDBs and she realised that I was actually trying to achieve something. She liked the fact I had finally got off my arse and set my sights on achieving something. I got stuck for nearly a year on forty HDBs and didn't seem to be able to improve. I started to lose heart and began to stay in the chair and watch TV all day. Eventually Marie decided enough was enough and she left. She said I had turned into a vegetable again, only this time I was a fat vegetable. At least last time I had a body she could fancy. Things went downhill from there and for nearly a year I did no training at all. Then one night I was sitting watching one of those late night shopping channels when I received divine intervention. There for sale was Joey Chestnut's autobiography "HDB and me". Joey was the current world champion and at the time had won the competition for the last four years. I picked up the phone, ordered the book and went to bed dreaming of victory. Once the book arrived I started training with renewed vigour. Marie wouldn't be able to resist a world champion.
And then the fateful day came. 4th July 2012. I had qualified at one of the regionals and now I was sitting with the nineteen other contestants in front of forty thousand people with a further two million watching on the television. Then the buzzer went. I hadn't eaten for twenty four hours so I was as primed as I could be. I started by dunking and squeezing to help move things along quicker. After nine minutes I was on fifty five and Joey Chestnut was on fifty seven, the rest of the field flailing in our wake. I was still feeling good and Joey was starting to slow. I caught one back against him when suddenly a pain erupted in my chest. I nearly stopped with the pain but then Joey gagged and I knew I could catch him. We were level. It was only indigestion. I would be fine. The pain was spreading. We were neck and neck. Ten seconds to go. Joey faltered. The pain was getting worse. Spreading down my left arm. One last push. The buzzer. The pain. My legs gave way and I was sitting on the floor trying to get my breath. I managed to hang on to consciousness just long enough to hear those immortal words, 'The winner of the 2012 Hot Dog eating World Championship is Mike Dutton of England.'