Throughout 2017 I am taking on a number of challenges, one a month in aid of Make-A-Wish UK, including a gruelling 110km walk from London to Henley, numerous half and a full marathons, cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats later in the year. This series of challenges will see me walk, swim, run and cycle over 1,500 miles by the end of the year and I hopes to have raised £5 for every challenge mile completed.
Throughout August I am also supporting the #BucksMovesMe Miles and Medals Summer Challenge, which aims encourage people in Buckinghamshire to move a little more by walking, jogging, running, scooting or cycling one lap around a local park. It’s about getting people up and out and see what they can do and for how many days. So creating a little bit of shared motivation and inspiration.
The question, in respect to my own motivation – why do all this? why put yourself through it? why go from no exercise to pushing yourself so hard?
The answer – to be a better version of myself.
Change has always interested me in my career but more and more I’m finding change in my personal life so very important. That interest comes from a desire to learn, to be my best and because I believe in one simple truth – that I can make a difference, that I should stand up and be counted, and to change the things I dislike about this world. I am not perfect – I understand my failings as a man, a father and a partner – I make life difficult for myself because I am unwilling to compromise my values or what I want from my life. I set high expectations of myself and those around me, I strive for excellence and achievement from every single day and as such I am often left disappointed, frustrated and with a sense that something is missing. It is those feelings that has set me on my current journey – following the breakdown of my marriage I wanted to create a life based on experiences and improve my physical and mental health and ultimately to be a better person, a better dad and to give more than I take. Changing the world might be too vague an ambition and frankly its just too damn big for one man (well, maybe…the jury’s still out).
That said, I can do something, I can be the change I want to see and hopefully inspire others to be that change too. I’m not an athlete or adventurer, and I don’t have a huge social media following or the influence of a “celebrity” – I am an ordinary man that wants to do something extraordinary for the benefit of others. That is why I created the Miles for Wishes challenges and why I support Make-A-Wish UK – because I don’t want to live in a world where a child has to be anything other than a child. Every child deserves the happiness and fun of being a child. Not being a patient, not defined by illness or disability – Make-A-Wish help let these children be children and to me that is extraordinary and is something worth pushing for.
Wanting to be the best has been a common theme in my life, I’m hugely competitive and setting a goal to aim myself at creates a focus and a huge amount of pleasure for me and this is why I’ve fallen in love with running. It tests me, physically and mentally, its something I can be better at (I am getting stronger and faster with each run) and it creates some time for ‘headspace’ – I don’t run with headphones or music, running is my time to chew through the problems of the day, or to think through the details of a challenge. I come back from a run tired but refreshed, with some of the problems sorted or at the very least its worked off some frustration or upset. Its like a medicine for my mind and body and I would recommend it to anyone who cares to listen
This is my own journey – I’ve found, through running a “love” of Instagram (I put it in quotations because there are still lots of things I despise about Social Media, particularly the spammy comments from those people only interested in driving likes and followers) and the community or runners, cyclist and professionals who get out there and chase down their own dreams and share their own journeys. So for me Instagram keeps me honest, it reminds me to get up and get out and keep going. Of course there are far faster and better athletes out there than me but I am not measuring myself against them, I’m measuring myself against where I was yesterday. So it really doesn’t matter how fast or how far you run – what matters is getting out there and doing something and changing yourself for the better.
You don’t have to go and create 12 challenges but you can set your own goals, get out there and smash them – because you can and because you are awesome, maybe you just don’t know how awesome you are yet!
You can find out more about the Miles for Wishes challenge and support my fundraising efforts here – www.justgiving.com/milesforwishes – everything is in aid of Make-A-Wish UK and every penny raised goes straight to them, to ensure they can grant magical wishes to children and young people facing life threatening conditions.
If you want to take part in the #BucksMovesMe Miles and Medals Summer Challenge – get on over to @BucksMovesMe on Instagram, find your local park and just see how many laps you can do. Post a photo and share your successes and victories and share in others to.