It’s only two weeks until the Run Melbourne Half Marathon. This will be 2014 half marathon number two of five happy half marathons for the year. One of the five clashes with Run Melbourne so currently after Run Melbourne there is the Ross Half Marathon and the Point to Pinnacle. I’ll make up the fifth one somehow, it might not be an event but it will be the distance.
In January 2015 Louise, Pauly and I are set to attempt our first full Marathon and run 42.2kms at the Cadbury Marathon.
When it comes to half marathons they are still a challenge, one that I respect greatly but with good preparation, training, nutrition, hydration, rest and the all-important mental attitude I know I can do this distance. It’s all about running all the way and finishing – I will try for a good time but if I don’t get it, just to be there running this distance is so amazingly awesome!
But the marathon leaves me with a sense of nerves. The butterflies are doing quickstep in my stomach. My mind feels a bit dizzy and well – marathons are a long way! They take a lot of time to prepare for. I’ve read many posts by fellow bloggers and seen lovely running friends locally put soul, mind and heart into being as ready as they can be to attempt this distance.
A few Sunday nights ago Louise sent me a text to ask if I was watching a program called Sunday Night – she said to quickly put it on if I wasn’t. There was a report on Sharn McNeill and Craig Gruber who recently defied all odds and completed the Cairns Ironman. Pauly and I were in Port Douglas at the time, just north of Cairns, but we didn’t see this amazing pair and their support crew ride past us on the bike leg, we watched for quite a while, but in the afternoon we went for a run and I’m thinking they must’ve ridden by then.
This brave young woman had a dream to finish the full Ironman (that’s a 3.86km swim, a 180.25km bike ride and finally a full marathon of 42.2kms). Why is she brave? Sharn has an aggressive form of Motor Neuron Disease called Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Before her diagnosis she had been active in triathlon events and had finished a Half Ironman. Her dream was to finish a full Ironman.
Her amazing friend Craig made this dream come true. Together they trained and encouraged each other. Craig swam and pulled Sharn on a kayak, he rode a bike with a special recumbent bike attached and together they peddled, Sharn as much as she could. He then assisted her by pushing her wheelchair for the run.
When Louise sent me the text she said you’ll need tissues. I sure did. Total inspiration. Despite being out in the ocean unable to swim, Sharn had complete trust in Craig. After the swim they got to the bike ride and had several punctures and Craig’s GPS failed so it was hard to track where they were – uncharacteristically for Cairns it had been pouring with rain and the device got waterlogged. They were looking like they just weren’t going to make the time cutoffs for each leg.
But they did.
They encouraged each other and pushed through the difficulties, exhaustion and dreadful weather conditions.
I remember seeing Sharn on the Sunday Night story while they were riding, her teeth were chattering with cold but all she could say to her friend Craig were words of encouragement and to not stop. She was thinking of him despite her obvious discomfort.
Craig assisted Sharn to run the last 100m over the finish line. She and Craig crossed the finish line and Sharn’s dream of becoming an Ironman came true.
Along with their four friends who supported them, they all completed the Cairns Ironman. Totally amazing. There were lots of supporters known as the Sharni Army who had been out for hours and hours and hours, many in pink wigs, cheering and supporting Sharn, Craig and team in this epic Ironman attempt.
After the story Louise sent me a text If Sharn can do that we can run a marathon.
Sharn has so inspired me to keep the positive thinking going. Each time I start to doubt if I can run a marathon I think of her. I don’t know if I will be able to, but I shall put on my bestest most positive attitude and give it my very best shot. Pauly, Louise and I – together we are going to have a go.
We’ll be at the starting line on Sunday 11 January 2015 to run those 42.2kms helped along by the inspiration of two amazing people, Sharn and Craig.
If you are struggling with a new distance no matter how far, draw on some inspiration from Sharn. There are details on the facebook page of how to donate to research into conquering MND.
You can read more about Sharn and Craig on the Ironman website: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/06/sharn-earns-ironman-wish.aspx#axzz3791WGYPz
(I have shamelessly borrowed a number of image about Sharn and Craig – I hope they don’t mind.)
Happy running 🙂