June 23rd, 2010 at 3:33 pm (Home)
Feeling completely unprepared for the Gobi March. Have spent the last month cramming as much work in as I can before I leave and as a result am feeling rather burnt out. Have not done any running at all in the past weeks and am nursing a cold and mouth ulcers. Not the best way to prepare for a 250km endurance race at all! Add to that word emerging from RacingThePlanet to expect stifling temperatures of 50 degrees celcius with no wind and heat that can boil water on car bonnets and it doesn’t make for a pretty picture.
Still, am confident that once I arrive in the Gobi there will be nothing on my mind except completing the race and doing myself and those who believe in me proud. As a matter of fact, I can’t wait to start running and have a quiet positive expectancy of this brand new experience.
As was the case in the Sahara, am looking forward to receiving messages of love and support. I find that they are a tremendous source of nourishment for the soul and would love for you to make a little space in your day and heart to send me some positive words.
You can do so by going to www.4deserts.com/gobimarch and selecting email a competitor from the Race Coverage drop-down list. Names are arranged according to surnames, so look for Lawrence Thaddeus
Thank you much from my heart.
June 21st, 2010 at 5:26 pm (Home)
If there was an environment where one could develop an instant bond and trust with another person, then a desert race would be the ideal backdrop. The camaraderie and friendships that form out of adversity at a 4 Deserts event is the stuff of legend. Living in close proximity and subject to conditions to which the average person is not accustomed, a deep sense of esprit de corps is immediately established.
This fellowship manifests itself in many ways: someone waiting for you at the end of a stage to help carry your pack to the tent; or checking in on you during the evenings or early mornings; or hanging back to walk with you when you are struggling. This was service leadership at its best.
Even though we are all grappling with our own personal predicaments, we somehow discover that little extra to give someone else a shot in the arm. It’s so much easier to get outside yourself when you’re thinking about someone else. This is the best way to overcome challenges and difficulty: focus outwards.
For being there, we are already winners – we go on to run not so much to beat one another, but to be with one another. The joy of participating in such an event is the joy of adding our power and personality to the pack. And many extend their reach and influence to their wider community by raising funds for assorted charities.
As the official post-race update articulated, “The bonds made…are strong and all those who have taken part in this event are now part of a much wider family, one dedicated to seeing the world through different eyes and finding out what it truly means to be a member of the human race.”
You cannot not make a difference.
June 12th, 2010 at 10:44 am (Home)
In a scene from the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, Christopher Gardner tells his son, “You got a dream…you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it.”
A life worth living is a life of passion in the pursuit of our dreams; it is about what excites our spirit and our energy. When we’re doing the thing that we love and that we’re good at, time takes on a different dimension completely. If we’re doing something we love, we come alive and an entire day simply flies by. Avid runners think nothing of popping out the door for a long run, while others dread just lacing up their shoes. If we’re doing something that doesn’t resonate with our spirit, five minutes feels like forever. The reason so many people go through life like zombies is because it doesn’t feed their spirit; it doesn’t feed their energy or their passion.
In the struggle between practicality and passion, many choose the former. They give up their passion and dreams in order to do a job they don’t feel anything for, so they can earn money and keep up with the Joneses. The alternative is to pay the price of sacrifice, perseverance, hard work and even rejection, in order to pursue our passion and do the job we love, and in the process earn money and create meaning in our lives.
What is your dream?
June 9th, 2010 at 10:23 am (Home)
Of the many words I have heard used to describe participants of ultra events, champions in life and leaders of industry, is courage. And of the many definitions of courage, I like that by Raymond Lindquist best.
He called courage the power to let go of the familiar. To be courageous is to let go of familiar ideas and comfortable assumptions. An example is our set attitude toward age. In my formal talks and informal conversations on the Sahara Race, I invariably get responses along the lines of “I wish I could do something like this, but I’m too old.” And these are people in their 30’s and 40’s! Somehow it has been drilled into our consciousness that sporting pursuits are the domain of those in their teens and 20’s.
Running down the list of participants of any of the 4 Deserts races, it is clear that participants run the gamut from young to old. The oldest in the Sahara Race was Jack Denness, who at 74 years young, was a school caretaker in England. And this year he will be competing in the Badwater ultramarathon. Who says old people are of no use and should simply rest up and wait to die? Who says the youths of today can’t contribute and make a difference? Who says if you come from a certain school or socio economic background, that you should expect only this much from life and that you will end up at a certain point? Or that you will be this sort of person?
All too often we are too obsessed with how our labelling according to our schools, qualifications, colour, age etc, brands us for life. And so we are told and we believe, that it starts at a certain point and we go through a particular path and if we follow it, we will end up set for the rest of our life. But it doesn’t.
Roger Bannister. Gong Baoren. Cliff Young. Richard Branson. Barack Obama. Helen Keller. Ray Charles. Andrea Bocelli. Rosa Parks. Marie Curie. These are a random sprinkling of personalities, familiar and not so familiar, who had to courage to let go of familiar assumptions and perceived disadvantages to achieve greatness and make a difference.
Courage is the power to abandon our narrow way of thinking and with courage comes the curiosity and hunger to learn. With courage comes freedom for new ideas and new creations. With courage we break new ground, get better and become a better person.
What would it take for you to let go?
June 8th, 2010 at 5:13 pm (Home)
This was the question I had left the audience to ponder at this year’s Pre-U Seminar 2010. I was honoured to have been invited as panellist alongside the Director of Institute of Policy Studies and former Secretary-General of ASEAN, Ambassador Ong Keng Yong; and Project Director at MOE and ex-CEO of SINDA, Mr Manogaran Suppiah. The panel was chaired by the ever affable Chairman of the Public Transport Council and National Kidney Foundation, Mr Gerard Ee.
With One People – Living the Pledge as the theme, we were tasked with exploring how Singaporeans in general, and young Singaporeans in particular, could “achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation”. Having recently completed the Sahara Race – a multi day 250km footrace in the Sahara desert – I found it a fitting metaphor for life.
One can fake his way through a 10km run or put his head down and persevere through the pain barrier of a standard marathon, but a multi day run is a different kind of beast altogether. Once done with the gruelling endeavours of the first day, you have to get up the next day and do it all over again, and do it within the cut-off time. This means that you can neither afford to take your time nor can you over push yourself. Each day is about growing stronger and stronger to tackle the demands of the next.
And how do people fare in this multi day endurance race called life?
Having had the privilege of meeting and working with different cultures and people around the world and experienced the magnificent camaraderie of the Sahara Race, I think there are generally two groups of people in this world. The first are those who do not enjoy what they do, simply going through their lives just getting on with it and getting by. They derive no great pleasure from what they do and survive it rather than thrive, and wait for the weekend or the holidays to come. But there are also people who love what they do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. They start the day with a relish because they get to do what they love and work doesn’t seem like work to them. Because it isn’t so much what they do, it’s who they are. Life is exciting and they thrive.
Which group do you belong to?