At the end of 2016, I was getting older, feeling sluggish, and weighed-in at 16.25 stone. I made a decision in January 2017 to set some apparently-ridiculous goals and then go achieve them. Push myself to where I thought my limits lay - and then grit my teeth and push through those limits. It wasn't going to be easy. It wasn't meant to be. That's the point. And, hey, whilst I do this thing – whilst I go on this journey – I'd try to help others: Raise funds and awareness for a number of charities close to my heart.
All the while, I'd hoped to raise funds at each and every step along the journey for my selected charities, the Cancer Clinical Research Trust and the Hyper Acute Stroke Unit in Charing Cross Hospital – They are both great organisations, doing fantastic work, supporting the causes they relate to, and helping many many people fight the illnesses and diseases life throws at them.
Thank you to all who've inspired me to start this journey - and to those who've supported me (oft-times unbeknownst to themselves through their quiet encouragement) - and to now continue journey!
As I'll no doubt keep telling myself many times along the way - it won't be easy, life isn't - but it did seem like a good idea at the time!
During 2017, I completed 10 challenges…
- A1EE Mount Leinster TAB, February 2017
- Regents Park BHF 5km, March 2017
- Great Ireland Run 10km, April 2017
- ICHC 150ft Abseil, April 2017
- El Juanar-Istan 18km Mountain Hike, July 2017
- A1EE SF Endurance 17.5km TAB, July 2017
- Dingle Half-marathon, September 2017
- QUEST Achill Adventure Race, 31km, September 2017
- Tough Mudder Obstacle Race, 10 miles, London South, September 2017
- Construction Rocks, Scala London, October 2017
And so far in 2018 I’ve finished the following…
- Brixton 10km, January 2018
- Richmond Park Half-marathon, February 2018
- QUEST Kenmare 50km Adventure Race, March 2018
- Great Ireland Run 10km, April 2018
- BHF Tower of London 10k Run, May 2018
- Para’s 10 P-Coy Challenge, Colchester, May 2018
- AEE SF Endurance TAB Summer Fan Dance, Pen Y Fan, July 2018
Writing this just reminds me of the Old Me...The guy who couldn't run 2km way back when. As I've always said: If I can do it, ANYONE can. If I can inspire just one other person to push their own boundaries and achieve what they only imagined in their dreams, then I'm happy.
WHAT DO I WANT TO ACHIEVE?
Past and recent events and the twisting path of life have led me to understand that, despite what occurs and despite the vagaries of life's slings and arrows, the only way to improve oneself, move forward, be a better person, is to do that: Keep moving forward and try to DO ones best to BE ones best. Learn from ones past; Take what has been the best and build on it; Push forward and honour those who've inspired me by keeping doing what I do and strive to do it better: Strive to be better. When down, the only way can be up. When done, the only way is to do. Pick oneself up and get on with it. The challenges are over, the way-marked route has come to an end, the trails lead upwards and onwards into unmarked territory. Lead or follow? Perhaps both. Be inspired and, in doing so, perhaps try to inspire. Be the best version of oneself one can be: Or try to. I have failed to be my best me. This does not make me a bad person: It just means I can try harder, I can be better. I will try. I will strive. And I may succeed. I may not. But the struggle continues.
WHAT CHANGES AM I MAKING?
This is all, after all, about the resilience of the human spirit, and frankly along the way I've had some very serious doubts about my own intestinal-fortitude (guts), balls, and resilience, and my ability to single-handedly see the series of challenges through. I've questioned my motivation for starting down this road. I've question for what, why, and whom I've been attempting this nonsense so late in life. I've had the most amazing close personal support in getting this going and to keep going thus far.
A massive amount of soul-searching, questioning, and re-consideration as to whether I will continue. The future is always going to be uncertain and life will always throw curve-balls.
Inspiration for this adventure came from many sources and one reconsiders the whys and wherefors. All I can do is remember past words of encouragement and put the head down and keep on going.
Not least, because so many have encouraged and inspired me to do this. Not least, because so many have generously donated to the fantastic charities. And not least, because I said I would.
Failure is not an option, I realise.
And therefore, training continues...
MY PLAN FOR 2018 AND BEYOND.
Remainder of 2018:
Quest 60km Achill Adventure Race
Winter Fan Dance
Quest 12 hour Adventure Race
Plus some other "fun" stuff!
MY PERSONAL PROMISE.
To strive forward. And help. And be good. Be better. Be the best Alan I can be. The challenges continue. The path leads on wards, and the final chapters remain to be written. Going to keep going. Need to keep going. Show what can be done. Show what my best really looks like.
Be inspired - and in doing so - hopefully inspire.
Honour the promises made and live up to my own expectations: Live up to the faith and belief others have placed in me.