Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why am I doing this again........

Word has been getting out that I am heading into the Sahara for 6 days, carrying all my food and water, and people are starting to ask me questions like - Are you CRAZY? - You feeling OK? - Why Why Why? - What you trying to prove? - Do you think you`ll make it? -

The reality is that this will not be easy. Everyday I am researching MDS on Google (thank the cyber gods for Google) and the deeper I dig, the more harsh the reality becomes with exactly what I got myself into. You don`t just show up and run this race, no way Jose`.... Making it to Morocco is a challenge in itself, proper and careful preparation, loads of research on equipment, types of foods, travel arrangements and spending a lot of $s just to take part.

So, why am I doing this............

This started as a kinda of a daft idea, and now I find myself heading towards the Sahara with every passing day.....

260 days or 6253 hours or 375190 minutes and counting as I am writing this till I am standing somewhere in the Sahara, on a starting line, waiting to go on one of the greatest running races/adventures in the world. I have always been in awe of people pushing themselves to the limit, testing themselves against the elements. People like Mike Horn, Riaan Manser, Freya Hoffmeister and Eddie Aikau are all influences in my decision to take part in this race. It all started for them with a dream to achieve their personal goals, so this has always been a dream and now it is becoming a reality!

I'm not sure that it's all that important how a dream is born. That is, if it's a good dream and it signifies something you want out of life, what's more important than its roots is that that you seek that dream out, that you chase it with such unbridled passion that you'll make it your own reality. In doing so, you'll likely experience many twists and turns -- triumphs and defeats -- expected outcomes and utter surprises. If you dream of finishing a big race, your dream is often of the finish, not of the long journey to reach the finish line, especially not the months of preparation it takes to even reach the starting line. In the end, maybe you'll get that Finisher's shirt or medal. Even better though, maybe you'll make a new friend or experience something that enriches your life in a way that will leave you a different person - or some wonderful combination. The beauty of chasing a dream is that the dream itself is often outcome-focused, but the reality that's delivered brings some of the most cherished rewards to you.

Taking part in this dream also impacts the people closest to you as they need to put up with your obsession to get one more run in before the day is over. I am lucky to have a very special lady in my life, my wife Fiona. Fi has been on board with my decision from day one, and only now I realise what she has to sacrifice in order for me to complete this race. Athletes can be very selfish, as many hours have to be spent to ensure you are ready to take part and it is easy to neglect the ones you love without realising it. I know that when I am crossing the Sahara dunes, Fi will be there in spirit nudging me along to get to the finish line, and maybe if I am lucky, she`ll be there when I cross the finishing line! Thank you Babe!!

Chasing this dream also brings a chance to help raise awareness for families suffering from Autism. There is no known cure for Autism and all funds raised during my preparations and the race will go to research and help families to deal with this disorder. I will be posting more info on Autism and how you can get involved, and try and raise the profile here in Dubai and hopefully internationally. The Ernie Els foundation has been very supportive and I will be running the race for Ernie`s son Ben. When the going gets tough I will think of Ben and the millions of other people affected by this disorder. This one is for you Ben!

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