Sometimes it’s very easy to get preoccupied with developing yourself, I’m just as guilty of this as others. The reason I ran my first marathon was because I was searching for something beyond myself, by achieving that goal. It took me a while to realise that even though I may not had accepted myself, what I am is enough. The path of continually looking for more, can be a continuous downhill journey.
Eight marathons later I may have improved upon my efforts from my first marathon, but rather than looking at how my running benefits me, a question I’ve asked myself recently is how can I make a contribution from something I enjoy doing, whilst knowing that I’ll never be challenging to win a World Marathon Major race. I’m not being defeatist, I’m just being realistic.
After completing my last marathon a man in his forties was bending the ear of all that cared to listen about how he missed his time a sub 3 hour marathon by 5 minutes. Now I can understand his frustration to a certain extent, he has probably worked really hard in training, but even if he did manage to get the time he wanted he is still approx 45mins slower than the elite male runners who race to win. Does reaching getting that time make him any more or less a person of value?
Or you meet the person who holds down a full time job and is juggling family commitments and tells you that they came in twentieth position out of 100. Are you telling me this because you are deeply insecure, or hoping that I will respect you more for being the nineteenth quickest loser?
My feeling is unless you are in a position to challenge and win, I have greater sympathy if you miss out on your goal. It’s the elites in the sport that get everyone else inspired and that is their contribution. For example Paula Radcliffe’s record at the London marathon inspires me.
But if your not in a position to win, please take that pity party elsewhere about finishing in twentieth position. If you said to your family or friends what do you most value about me and they said its your PB marathon time then I’d be very worried about what your contribution to others has been.
People may say I’m just bitter because I’m not a sub 3 hour marathon runner for example. But for me you should do the best that you can with the tools you have, but if you can’t compete against the elites then it shouldn’t devalue who you are as a person.
Its been said many times before… It’s not about about finish times it’s about the finish line.
The question I’ve started to ask myself is where can I make a contribution? I don’t want those that know me to say he ran this amount of marathons and was very determined etc etc. And that’s it… What a wasted, self absorbed life were I contributed nothing to others.
The charity mind state that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In the short time I’ve started this profile online I’ve been really touched by the stories, people have shared about their own challenges or those of family members who made a recovery or did not.
People like Emma Chandler, whose cousin Jay Devlin recently committed suicide. Emma is undertaking a Tough Mudder event and raising money in Jay’s memory for (CALM) the campaign against living miserably, offers men support and information when they’re down or in crisis at www.thecalmzone.net. They exist to prevent suicide, the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. Latest figures show that 76% of all UK suicides were male. Please visit the link below and support a worthy cause.
In my small way I want to highlight the stigmas experienced by people suffering mental health issues. Whereas suffers feel ashamed or don’t believe that they are facing a real sickness, and think it’s ok to suffer in silence. Or those that don’t understand think of it as a weakness. Cancer is not a weakness and neither are issues to do with mental health.
So in relation to the 1 in 4 theme, my challenge for 2016 is to run four UK marathons in one year starting in Manchester and ending in Chelmsford. I know that exercise can benefit people with mental health challenges alongside other treatment. Please watch this space as I document the journey.
I believe it’s important to create value in other people’s lives. It could be one person or a billion. But I would challenge you to ask yourself how can you use your talents to benefit others?
(Sorry for the late response, life is hectic like life is!)
An interesting post, but one that I’m not sure I agree with 100%. The finishing 20th out of 100 thing, sure, I think that’s a bit silly to obsess about personally – I’m not doing this to compare myself to others. The example of missing the 3hr mark by 5 mins though: setting personal goals and showing improvement is, to me, what it’s all about. Am I ever going to rank among the pros? No. But if I’m doing all this hard work, damn right I want to be able to point at markers where I can say it’s worth it, that I am improving my person. I think it’s possible for this personal drive to exist without it becoming everything you need to obsess about.
That said, I do try not to bend people’s ear about it when I muck up (with varying degrees of success, probably). It’s an interesting point to think on regardless.
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Thanks for your comment George maybe I could of expanded more on my point, but we both agree with the fact, it’s good to have personal goals to work on.
It’s important to have a goal otherwise you have nothing to work for, but if you don’t make them you shouldn’t devalue yourself. There is also nothing wrong with abit of humility in defeat, which this chap didn’t have.
I think the problem was he was in a competitive running club so he felt he had some accountability to explain himself to the judgement of other runners. And this was the pre judgement buffer defence.
I race to compete against myself. The judgement of what time I completed a race in, and having to hear that some else did it 10mins quicker…I don’t think it’s ok for personal goal is to be devalued by others when their time isn’t even close to the worlds best.
Not just in running, but in life in general people love to compare themselves against others, and quietly judge.
Anyhow I appreciate the comment and I hope the training for the ironman is going well, I look forward to hearing how you get on.
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