Mark Gillett

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Breaking The Mould…..

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Check out the guy at the back on crutches..... Read below

I have always been driven by dreams, what I like, the world around me. I think if there was one thing that taught me to take risks and make decisions it was tennis.  I played competitively for many years and when I think about the intricacies of the sport and the battles I am convinced that was it. But then I think there was probably more than just that….

One arena I have seen breaking the mould on mass is the Marathon des Sables or even a single marathon on its own. Just to go out and run that distance of 26.2 miles is a huge decision to make and follow though on. London sees 35,000 a year doing it so thats quite a few breaking the mould.

The Marathon des Sables, the “Grand Slam” of ultra running has an entry of 1000 runners this year.  The British entry system is booked for the next 3 years so thats around 750 booked already just from the UK.

So why do it?  Why put your body through that hell and pain?  Why not go to the Maldives for two weeks for the same price? I see men and women every year challenge themselves on this event as well as others I cover in the arctic or jungle and have come to a few conclusions.

There are those that are just at that point in their lives – mid life crises – and need to change or they die in side.  Then there are those who sat in the pub one night and saw it on tv the night before then over 6 beers made a bet! Some have always fancied it and finally got round to entering.  And finally there are those who were always destined to do it because its there and has to be done.  They have achieved so much in their lives, they need to push more just to find out.

I am sure there are other reasons like health or charity but to be honest I think most use the charity option as an excuse to go do something they have to do for themselves. I have seen some great fund raising on the back of these events so please do not misunderstand me. I just don’t believe too many people are truly altruistic.

However, a marathon or the MdS is a great starting point for people to start making a change in their lives.  As is just running on its own. Most people that you see in the street could barely run 100m so to go out and run a mile is quite something.  To run 26.2 is just amazing and to run 150 in the desert deserves more than the medal at the end….

The difficulty often appears on return or after the race.  The build up can be for quite some time and then suddenly its all finished.  Its over and done. Void!

This can be avoided somewhat if the marathon or MdS is just seen as the first step.  First of many steps in a life change that is for the better.  One that means that from the end of that race your life begins as a fitter healthier human being. Someone who has courage and the ability to do something out of the ordinary.  Then raise a shedload of cash at the same time for the local hospice or charity.  Someone who can break the mould. But its only the first right answer…

There are some truly great people in world who can achieve so much if they only believe.  And its probably belief that is the overidding factor in stepping out and doing something different….  If you are running the MdS this year, you will have a ball.  You will come back different, truly different.  Use it as the first of many steps……Believe.

The man at the back of the runners above broke his ankle the previous day on the long stage.  He then completed the marathon stage 26.2 miles on crutches. True belief!

Thats about it for now….  Off for a run now..

Written by markgillett

January 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

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