With our new year of 2012 fresh upon us I want to keep everyone motivated with stories about running and life and most importantly what you can do to make an impact on your own life as well as others around you.
In running terms we have come such a long way in just the past 20 to 30 years. I remember my Dad running back when I was a kid and he was part of the O.G. old school runners with no real support in their shoes, no Gatorade, no gels, no fancy clothing to wicker away sweat or recovery drinks. They just ran and ran and ran and actually ran well for that matter. To think what they would have accomplished with all this new technology. One of the biggest pioneers I can remember vaguely as a kid was Terry Fox. My father must have been amazed by his story because I can remember being so inspired by him. Terry Fox was a Canadian diagnosed with Cancer and attempted to run across Canada in 1980 to raise money for cancer research. The incredible thing is he ran on an artificial leg. He ended up running 143 days and covered 5,339 miles. When he started in Newfoundland he started with little fanfare but all that changed as he was greeted by thousands along his run. He not only raised awareness for cancer research he also raised 1.7 million along the way before he forced to stop in Ontario because his cancer had spread to his lungs. Terry ran through rain, strong winds and snow storms. Not to mention the many drivers who tried to run him off the road. Obviously he was sick during this process but still managed to run a marathon a day to fight for his cause. Terry Fox truly built a bridge for the many corporations like Run for the Cure or Team In Training to run and raise money for research. He also may have been the true pioneer for ultra running which is popular now. I am sure the popular ultra runner Dean Karnazes was paying attention and inspired by Terry Fox. Terry’s legacy lives on and he is still an inspiration to me to this day.
Another runner who built a bridge for runners and people to push their limits and believe anything is possible is Roger Bannister. In 1954 Bannister was the first runner to run a mile under 4 minutes. Prior to Roger breaking the record it was believed from doctors and sports psychologists that no amount of training or human ability could produce a mile below the 4 minute barrier. Many runners had attempted to break the 4 minute mark but could only produce 4:03, 4:02 and 4;01 marks. To the shock of everyone Roger Bannister broke the mark with a 3;59 minute mile. Was Roger created differently than any other runner on earth? Obviously he wasnt. But Roger was the one who believed it could be done. The most incredible thing is what happened soon after he broke the mark. Just 46 days later Bannister’s rival broke Roger’s mark at 3:57. What is more incredible is in that same year more than a dozen runners from around the world broke the 4 minute mile mark in that year. What had been named as physiologically impossible just a year prior was now attainable because one man showed them it could be done. Roger bannister definitely built a bridge for others to believe in themselves and to push what was impossible at that time. His story to this day continues to teach runners lessons of what is possible when you can believe in yourself. True believers will always do the incredible and those who are unsure will always do less than they are capable of.
If you take a look around today people everywhere around the world are building bridges so others may cross not only in running but in life. Some have created big bridges such as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Some are building bridges on a daily basis such as teachers who teach our youth to believe in themselves so that they may cross over to create and innovate more advanced creations.
My brother Rob is a college professor for a local university and once wrote, “Our obligation as scholars and teachers is to stimulate thinking. Our students should leave the classroom or lesson pondering, wondering and thinking, not knowing” So as I leave you, I hope you leave my message pondering, wondering and thinking…..
HOW WILL YOU BUILD YOUR BRIDGE IN 2012? What bridge will you build so others can be inspired and motivated by you to become better than they are at the moment? Whether it is big or small build it. Every day is an opportunity to build that bridge so get out there and make the day great. And if you are unsure what to build, look into your heart. Your heart will always lead the way and in terms of running, your heart will always get you to the finish line. Start building and I will see you at the finish line.