When you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time. – haile Gebrselassie
I joined the Standard Chartered Marathon Singapore 2014 last Sunday. I wanted to finish the full marathon within 6 hours, which I took about 8 hours. Am I a failure? I wanted to run all the way, instead I walked most of it. Am I a failure?
Am I a failure? End of story. Or, was it?
Instead, as I think back – there are lessons along the way.
Preparation. As usual, the first thing we must always do (before any life-changing events) is to prepare. I have to admit – I lacked of preparation. I didn’t run as much as I had wanted to. I didn’t even take my breakfast before the race. What an idiot I am.
Fundamental questions. As I was running – delusional from the sore muscles, and scorching sun along the endless route – I kept asking myself these questions:
What am I proving here?
To whom am I proving to?
Is it necessary?
Many a life decision can be made simpler only if we have a crystal clear answers to the fundamental questions. Although life isn’t as easy as that, striving to find answers to those usually would lead the way for us.
Power Ranger. I saw the five rangers. Yes, you didn’t read wrong. And no, I wasn’t hallucinating. There really are five. Pink, yellow, red, green, blue. They are the usual participants in full marathons. Been seeing them running for a few years. They continuously stopped for photo-shooting with the crowd, the runners, the volunteers. Cheerfully, without any obligation. And resumed their race. And I think, they are one of the reasons why the race was much more bearable.
And yes, regardless of how slow they run, and how many stops they took to take pictures, they end up at the finishing line earlier than me.
Religion above all. Along the way, I saw a few runners performing the prayers. Which I think is awesome. Marathon is a personal achievement. To achieve personal best, you shouldn’t stop at all. And for these runners, they took the time, prepared and performed prayers.
Religions (all religions) practice tolerance and respect to one another. If only everyone are as religious as them, there would be world peace. An idealism yet to be achieved, but we are slowly moving towards there. To world peace.
Volunteers. As the runners focused on running, the volunteers worked behind the scene and around the clock to ensure that everyone is well looked after. Countless of road marshals direct the road while the volunteers keep filling the drinking water into the cups. Numerous others on standby with muscle rub cream.
There’s this incident in East Coast Park (ECP), where I took a rest from the run. I was tired and sored from running (a more correct word would be walking). A young volunteer ran to me, asking, “Are you alright, Sir?” “Do you need a rest?” “Do you need muscle rub cream?” “There’s a bench over there where you can rest.”
I was really touched by her sincere, genuine concern. Thanks!
I didn’t thank you (all the volunteers) during the race. My bad. There’s no excuse to it. However. I would really want to thank you for all the help you have given. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Safety first. The race this year was definitely much hotter than the previous year. I saw runners lying by the side of the road. I even saw one almost on the verge of puking. There’s numerous trips of ambulance along the way.
Although the usual sayings are “Push to the limit” and “Pain is temporary, pride is forever”, we should always take precaution. Safety first. Know your limit and don’t exceed it. I knew my limit, and I stayed within my limit. Although I am not happy with my timing, I am happy that I can finish the run. There is always another battle, another run next time – when I am fully prepared.
Stay safe, runners.
Integrity. As I run, I keep thinking back on the reasons why. Why am I running? Integrity in not cutting corners. There are many short cuts along the route – veterans would know. I did cheat once (which I wasn’t proud of – but this would be a story for another day). And I made up my mind, I shall not cut corners. I shall run the full 42.195KM, regardless how long it takes, regardless of how sored are my legs, regardless of how is the weather.
And I am proud to say – I have finally finished my race – with full integrity, with pride, and a smile in my heart. I knew that, I have a second chance to redeem myself and I didn’t disappoint.
Have you ever run a “marathon” before? It doesn’t necessary be a marathon, but some challenging tasks that you are facing.
What’s your preparation?
What’s the why (fundamental questions) on doing it?
What ‘s the fun distraction along the way (there’s more to life in the journey than just the destination)?
Do you place spirituality and religion above your goals?
Are you grateful on the help given to you – from your loved ones, friends and even from strangers?
Do you know your boundary and work safely?
How do you stay focused in achieving your goals, with integrity?