I'm always being asked who inspires me in the running world. Although I'm inspired by people like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Paul Radcliffe and Dame Kelly Holmes its the amazing people I have met during my fantastic adventure as an Ultra Runner that have inspired me. Let me tell you a few of their stories.
In 2006 I was lucky enough to take part in the Kalahari Extreme Marathon in South Africa, during that time I met and have since become friends with a man who has a real passion for running and a real zest for life. He is always happiest whilst running in the mountains, there he can really feel at one with his surroundings. In 2008 he was given the devastating news that he needed a hip replacement which would mean the end of his running.
Can you imagine being given that news when your passion is running? Thankfully he was able to have a hip resurfacing operation although just as invasive meant that he could run again.
As a friend I watched this man go from a really positive person turn into the complete opposite - but thankfully with the help of his friends and his utter determination he built himself up, strengthened his muscles, trained hard and went on to complete 10 months later his 10th Comrades (green number) took part in the Kalahari Extreme Marathon (250km stage race) and the Skye Run. So you might say, a happy ending. In two days time he goes under the knife again to have his other hip resurfaced and yes, he's terrified, will he be able to run in his beautiful mountains again - the answer I believe is SO YES - his saying is "NEVER GIVE UP"
Another person that has inspired me is Alex Flynn. He is a remarkable man who in 2008 was diagnoses with Parkinsons - he has just turned 39 years old. I can't even begin to imagine how he felt but he has a wonderful wife and two very energetic sons who support and love him.
It would have been quite easy for Alex to feel sorry for himself, do nothing but no, he set up a charity called 10 Million Metres to raise money into the research of Parkinsons - that's the easy part - Alex is actually going to run, swim, walk, crawl 10 Millions Metres in order to raise £10 million. Having met Alex I know that he will do this, he is driven, determine and focused. Amongst some of the remarkable races Alex's has completed are Marathon des Sable and Europe 135.
The final but by no means least is a marvellous group of ladies who run for Project Athena. This foundation was set up to help women with medical or traumatic setback live their athletic and adventurous lives. I met a group of these ladies while racing in Namibia including the founder of the Foundation who has had two hip resurfacing operations and is an ultra runner and Adventure racer. All the ladies in the group were recovering from different forms of cancer yet their determination and zest for life was a just fantastic. The support they gave each other was wonderful to watch and fantastic that they are helping women live their dreams.
For me having met such amazing people is inspiring beyond belief, they are full of get up and go, have a focus and determination I would love to have, whatever knock downs they might have they fight back with such determination - however low they feel when things get bad they get themselves together, work it through and come back fighting - that's what inspires me, the spirit these amazing people have.
So next time you (or me!) are feeling sorry for ourselves always be inspired by others, they for me are the people who keep me going when I need help and I'm extremely honoured and proud to have met such amazing people in my life - thank you
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