I’m going to give you all a story today, hopefully some of it brings a smile to your face, some of it is a little bit motivating and failing that, you find it at least a bit interesting… All I ask in return is that you take a second to read the bit at the end titled “Here comes the ask”. At the very least share this with a mate and spread the word. Not for my blog, for the people at a very worthy cause and the many, many children that they will help in the future!
So something weird happened almost 3 months ago. I started running. I’ve never been a huge fan of running personally. When I was young in Canada I can remember playing soccer, swimming, doing triathlons, lots of cross-country skiing, but never really running. When I think back even to the few triathlons I did, the run was my least favourite discipline, and it wasn’t just because my legs were jelly having just gotten off the bike.
Swimming, skiing and riding a bike all had their own special appeals – swimming because of the total isolation from sound and sense of being somewhere you shouldn’t be, challenging your body to do something it was never designed to do. Skiing because you are out in the cold winter air, gliding along through the woods. Cycling because you just got to go fast!
Running just felt a bit pedestrian (see what I did there) without the other-worldly appeal of other sports.
Now I should fill you in on some detail that makes all of this a little more relevant – my Dad, Roy, was a runner. In a big way. He did marathons (in the 2 hour 20’s no less, back in the 80’s and he wasn’t even Kenyan!), half-marathons, 10kms, cross country, you name it. His distance running was slowed at it’s prime by the bumper of an errant driver, hitting him while he was (you guessed it) running and causing damage to his knee. Apparently you need knees to run (say that 10 times fast).
My childhood memories are punctuated by trips to races, near and far, images of him running home in the middle of Central British Columbia winters, his sweat frozen in his beard. I can remember the blood blisters on the soles of his feet from running marathons.
It would be a long time before I would really appreciate just how far a marathon is (42.2kms if you were wondering) and how much effort and application is necessary to be able to not only run that distance, but to run it fast, like sub-4 minute kms, 42.2 times over. He was still running sub-3 hour marathons as he turned 50!
What I did appreciate, even from a young age, was the champion spirit and competitiveness that is required to do this. As I got older I also realised the dedication and application required to be really good at anything.
Fast-forward 30-odd years and I’m now the Dad, and Jono is me back then. Unlike Dad, I’m not particularly good at anything in the sporting realm. In a strange celestial trading-places type routine, Jono decides he wants to start running, having just watched his Nana (my Mum) complete a 10km race at Orewa (with Dad in tow for support – another funny role-reversal…). It was mostly because she got a finishers medal. He’s like a magpie like that. Anyways, we look up the next available race and find the Run Auckland series have one the following weekend in Te Atatu. Not too far from home, we decide to sign Jono up. Now comes the frightening realisation – somebody will probably need to run it with him… It’s only 2.5kms, how hard could it be. Well for a grossly unfit and overweight 36-year-old me, it was damn hard! We finished, and that’s all we’re going to say about that.
So having been bitten by the running bug, Jono decides he wants to do training. I’m happy to go running with him, so we start heading out together. It’s fun. More importantly, it’s an opportunity for me to show him that it’s ok to push yourself. That it’s ok to be competitive.
So I start running a bit harder. A bit faster.
Next minute I’m signed up for 5km races. The minute after that, I’ve not only signed up for the Auckland Marathon‘s 12km Traverse, but I’ve set myself an objective to do it under an hour, for charity. How exactly that happened I’m not sure. Somebody recently told Kerryn that they think I have an addictive personality, that I don’t start something without going 110%. I think they might be right.
As far as the running goes, I’m not fast. I’m right at the back of the pack. But I’m giving it 110% every time I put those shoes on. I don’t run because it feels good. I really don’t because it really doesn’t.
I’m running to show my boy (and at some level, although she’s too young to realise it also my girl) that sometimes you need to push yourself to get the reward. That sometimes pushing yourself is the reward. Our running motto (well mine for now, he’ll get there) is Finish Faster than you Started.
No matter how hard the middle of the race might be, that last kilometer is money.
The last 500 meters is gold.
And that last 100 meters had better be worth sprinting for.
Because that’s where character lives.
And we are character eating monsters out on that running course.
Here comes the ask!
I will be running for Starship in October at the Auckland Marathon. I won’t be doing the Marathon, but I’ve set myself my own personal challenge. To run pretty damned fast. Starship do an incredible job for the children of New Zealand, read the foundation’s blurb below. If you want to help me to help them then please visit my fundraising page and make a donation. I need to find at least $2k somewhere to hold my head up and call myself a “Charity Hero”. I’m no hero, but I can do my bit!
About the Starship Foundation
Starship is New Zealand’s national children’s hospital. There are nearly 130,000 patient visits to Starship Children’s Health every year by children from all over New Zealand.
The Starship Foundation is a charity that raises funds so Starship Children’s Health can better care for its young patients.
The Starship Foundation raises up to $10 million a year. Donations are extra to Government funding and provide for initiatives such as Starship’s National Air Ambulance Service which brings children from all over New Zealand to Starship for life-saving care, as well as refurbishing older wards, new technology and medical equipment, vital research, boosted family support, staff training and community outreach projects to keep children out of hospital.
Starship Foundation exists through the generosity of the New Zealand public and leading organisations that lovingly donate money and/or time to assist Starship to remain at the forefront of paediatric care.
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