Tomorrow will be my final ultramarathon, this one in support of medical aid for palestinians (MAP).
Regular readers and followers will know that I have been working with MAP to deliver teaching and training to the physiotherapists in Gaza.
You’ll also know that for since 2017 I have had a running project called #upandrun to encourage people to be active.
It started with a 1/2 marathon, then marathons, then ultramarathons. The ultramarathon I found to be rather addictive….and ended up doing one a month for two years. There were several reasons.
Firstly, it was a way to raise the awareness of the global problem of pain — one of the biggest global health burdens. This remains the case; did you know?
Secondly, to continue encouraging people to be active in their own way.
And thirdly, to strip back and see what was under the hood. That will be familiar to you if you have ventured into endurance activities.
What have I learned?
My top 5.
- Persistence: that I can keep going, one foot in front of the other, even when it’s tough.
- Resilience, or ‘bounceback-ability’: there are always ups and downs on the ultramarathon journey, and you learn to deal with them, roll with it, fully experiencing the emotions and feelings, developing ways to revel in the joys and manage the hard bits, fully.
- Collaboration: of all the ultras, the Ring O’ Fire has been my favourite. Why? Because of the camaraderie, the togetherness, the sharing of a mighty experience in nature. Goosebumps just thinking about it.
- Nature: our environment supports us, we are part of it, we must look after nature–one of the reasons I joined the Green Runners.
- Presence: I am so very present when running down a trail, or in the struggle, in the middle of nowhere, and this is the place to be. It could not be any other way. This is it. Acceptance of what is and learning to relate to it in a humble way.
As a bonus, it has also been my own pain experiment. How do I relate to painful experiences? What skills can I use to deal with that moment? There are many.
There are plenty of other reasons.
Then there is translating these insights and experiences into the day-to day.
Your strengths become apparent: eg/ persistence, self-compassion, focus, encouragement.
It is time to stop now.
After tomorrow’s ultramarathon trot along the Thames Path for MAP — Medical Aid for Palestinians.
Ultrarunning does appear to suit and more mature body, so it would be possible to keep going, but…
The training takes up a huge amount of time. I am starting to resist that a little, and I would rather finish on a high and use my experiences and achievements to build onwards in different ways.
I will continue to run, but ease down on the weekly mileage. Running is certainly part of my weekly practice to be well. Choosing to be well, as Mike Pegg would say–Mike being a huge influence on my thinking and work.
I think my wife is happy about it…no more disappearing for hours and hours, meeting up at random places in the South East for lunch, me arriving sweaty, smelly and muddy at a cafe or restaurant. We will see :).
My friends in Gaza
So I dedicate this last run to my friends in Gaza, whilst raising awareness of MAP’s important humanitarian work.
MAP’s vision is a future where all Palestinians can access an effective, sustainable and locally-led system of healthcare, and the full realisation of their rights to health and dignity.
I intend to continue working with the team, helping them to develop their chronic pain service, online and hopefully in-person again soon.
Sunday 4th June
Starting at Walton Bridge at 8am, I will run along the Thames Path (south side) to the Thames Barrier.
If you see me, give me a wave!
If you would like to donate — please do if you can, a quid or more — you can via this link. Thanks for all the donation so far! As of Saturday midday, the total is £1374, exceeding the target of £1000. Maybe it will get to £1500 or more!