As a follow up and response to my title, “no s@%t.”
As I’ve continued to train and talk to people about the “Really Long Run for MS” there has been a common theme in both the reaction and conversation. It is either an attempt to hide a shocked face or the statement:
“You don’t look like a runner.”
Yup, I don’t. I am a 5″11′ 220 lbs 38 year old man (down from 240 when I started this craziness). I started losing my hair in my mid twenties and now I just shave it clean. I have two bad knees, a bum shoulder, and, as luck would have it, multiple sclerosis to top it all off. I’m not 6’1′ and 175 lbs, but I am the guy who is going to self propel himself 85km in roughly 12 hours on Saturday, May 23rd 2015 to raise money and awareness about multiple sclerosis.
Look, if you’ve met me, I get it. I look more rugby player (and not the quick ones; the guys in the scrum) than gazelle and I can see why people would doubt me. However, if I wasted my time listening to people tell me what I can’t do, I wouldn’t have made it this far. If a person wants to doubt that they can run 85 km, that’s their business, I don’t make it mine. I won’t let my body type and genetic makeup define or stop me. I ran 47.85 km last Friday. I have already run 10 km three times this week and I’m running 60 km tomorrow. It may take me 8 and a half hours, but I’ll hit 60 km tomorrow. I may hate myself when I’m done and have a strong impulse to walk into oncoming traffic, but I will get it done.
Why I am doing this
I could have decided to do something easier to raise money. I’m sure that there an infinite number of possibilities for events I could of organized that could have raised money for the MS Society which wouldn’t have had the physical toll the training has had so far. Anything would have been fine, but this journey of running has been cathartic for me. It may sound cliché, but the training has afforded me the opportunity to, “exercise some demons.”
In my life I have failed more times than I can count. At different points in my life I have failed as a: son, brother, uncle, nephew, grandson, cousin, friend, husband, father, employee, employer, and neighbour. I have failed at various pursuits, both athletic and artistic, and even at times as a student. For me this is an opportunity to hit the ‘reset’ button and reinvent my image of myself to myself while doing something positive for the larger community.
I have two children. Bella is almost four years old and Jonah (or “Mr. Jameson”) is almost two. I want them to believe they can do anything they put their minds to but also understand belief is only part of the equation; the belief needs to be followed with a serious commitment to do the activities necessary to achieve the goal. I feel completing this run will make an excellent starting point to set that example. I believe I can do it and I am putting in the commitment and effort to make it happen.
A conversation with an old friend the other night reaffirmed the other reason why I am doing this. After returning home after running 50 km last Friday, I texted all the members of my team. My team is a collection of family and friends who have agreed to take part in this event in some capacity. Some will be running along side me for various lengths, some will be support, and others will simply heckle me ( in a good way). One team member, Jason, called a few minutes after I sent the text announcing the completion of the 50 km run. I was a little taken back by his reaction. To sum up, he basically said that he found what I was doing inspirational and that he was amazed by my commitment. He reiterated several times to me that I shouldn’t feel that I have to cover the distance all by myself and that I shouldn’t kill myself in the process as everyone involved will want to celebrate this achievement with me when its over. As you can imagine after running for 6 and a half hours I was emotionally and physically exhausted. The phone call from Jason, and the numerous supportive texts from other team members, went along way to picking me up. It was a very strong reminder that this event can have a very strong and positive impact on other people.
So, in short, this run is as much for me as it is for others. I hope through it I can raise money and awareness all while setting an example for my kids. The point isn’t what I look like but rather the impact I can have.
Anyways, I’ll be attempting a 60 km distance tomorrow in St. Albert. The Red Willow trails around the Sturgeon River are just under 20kms from end to end. I am planning four and a half laps (or so) to hit the distance. I am starting a 1030am near the Running Room on St. Albert Trail and I figure I’ll be running until 630-7pm. Now when I say running, I mean jog for 45 minutes, walk 1 km (repeat). If anyone wants to join they can flag me down when they see me. I won’t be hard to miss, I’ll be the 220lbs rugby player wearing a Spider-Man shirt.
Really Long Run to end MS
As a person living with Multiple Sclerosis I am very fortunate. I still play hockey, run, and do most everything I was able to do before I was diagnosed. For me the worst symptoms are fatigue (sometimes extreme), issues with my balance, and constant numbness in my hands and feet. However, I am one of the lucky ones and many with this disease find simple things like walking next to impossible and there are many who can’t walk at all. Every spring my wife and I ride in the MS Bike from Leduc to Camrose. This year I have decided to run the 85 KM (one leg of the MS Bike) in a single day two weeks prior to the big ride to raise money and awareness. On May 23rd, 2015 I will begin the run in the wee hours of the morning and be met during the day by others who will run portions with me (and hopefully keep me sane and motivated). All money raised will go to the MS Society of Canada. If you would like to know more, donate, volunteer, or even join me for a portion of the run you can get more information by clicking here.
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- YEG MS Episode 20; Fat Bikes 4 MS & Kevin Gest - January 30, 2017
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