Since things have been going well and we’ve been getting to know each other a bit better over the past few weeks, I think that we can get a little bit more serious for a moment, but only a little as I’m not that kind of guy. My thinking is that if I’m meant to be inspiring and motivating you then it’s only fair that I let you know what inspires and motivates me day to day and in entering this race.
Who and what inspires me?
There are of are course the well-known and, dare I say cliché, heroes, such as the man this trail and race are named after. It is impossible not to be inspired by men and women of that calibre, for there are many songs sung of their deeds and actions. Well, these days it’s more like books, doco’s and movies than songs. Nay, for it the people that I draw the most inspiration from are less known ‘regular’ folks. People that often go unnamed or only known by a few people.
It is often said that something is a one’s personal Everest, a task or goal of a metaphorical Everest sized challenge. I seem to notice all the different people out walking or running more than I used to. These people, like myself, have no doubt set themselves goals similar to my own to improve different facets their lifestyle and health. I’ve meet people who have decided to upskill to improve their career and life. Each has their own Everest they are trying to climb and each with its own challenges.
At home it is inspiring and exciting to see my two daughters growing and learning new things about this world. The eldest has just turned 4 and comes home from kindy with something new each day along with a never ending line of questions. The youngest is 14 months and is a one girl tornado, where nothing in the house is safe and she must be part everything anyone does.
I have chosen a career path that is always pushing and challenging me to grow and learn. For years I was designing and building composite products for pretty much every industry out there while growing the company from 2 to 25 staff. While there I was lucky to have collaborated on some pretty special projects with some really talented people, such as Rocket Lab, Rex Bionics, Yike Bike, and America’s cup teams.
Now I am working at the cutting edge of nanotechnology commercialisation, where we are taking years of research out of unis and labs and into the world. The possibilities of nanofibre are seemingly endless and I see our team breaking new ground constantly, and often in a truly kiwi, have a crack, number 8 wire fashion. It is exciting to see where it is heading, how the company is growing and what crazy use the next customer has in mind; super-hot chill favoured corn protein anyone? Or how about face masks that can detect contamination? Or my favourite to test, better filters for beer making?
So what motivates me?
My family and friends response to me picking up running and losing weight is been overwhelmingly positive. But most assume that I’m doing it so I’ll be around to seeing my daughters grow up, but I have loftier goals than that; I want to see my Grandkids grow up. This is what has motivated me to make a change. That and there is a narrow gap in a machine at work I can’t fit though, so have to go the long way around every time.
I was recently asked by my wife why I actually chose to enter the Hillary, as none of my mates are entering. Around November last year we started looking at next year’s running calendar and planning the coming year, and doing the careful balancing act of our fitness, budget and getting permission from the lady folk. The Hillary just jumped out to me as something I’d be keen to give a go. I guess part was due to it being the legendary Hillary trail, part is that’s close to home, part that is it longer than my other races so possess a new challenge, and a little bit that my mates aren’t doing it. A phase I like to often use is: Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like hell.
I have a competitive nature so races give me an outlet for this, even if it is just racing against myself and the clock. Having the Hillary as a target has given me something to aim for, otherwise I doubt I would be as motivated to keep getting out and pushing. I don’t tend to do things for no reason, although sometimes the reason may not be immediately obvious, even to me.
There have been a few demoralising moments along the way. One that my “plus sized” kin will be familiar with is the almost complete lack of gear, in sizes greater than the tiny active wear interpretation of XL. I was fuming when I couldn’t get a pair of running shorts that would fit my 117cm waist. It felt a bit like I was being told that I shouldn’t get the right gear due to my size. Which in my opinion is an oversight as I’ll need to replace my gear for smaller sizes sooner than those already in shape.
But after I hunted the web for a while I found I was not alone and that there were some pretty good blogs such as Running with a Police Escort and 300 pounds and running. Now knowing there is a complete subset of runners, the ones that proudly make the fast guys and girls look faster (you’re welcome), I was reinvigorated and more determined than before. It also was a contributing factor in me applying for this Inspirer role.
As egotistical as it might sound becoming an inspirer has helped motivate me to keep on pushing for greater distances and shorter times when out running. Writing these blogs is quite cathartic and giving me somewhere to put down some of the weird and wonderful things that go through my head. Looking at the entries for the Hillary it is great seeing the sheer number of entries (520 at time of writing, which leaves just 80 spots), the number of people doing the full 80km, the number of super vets and juniors, and the number of international entries. It’s awesome that so many are embracing a pretty new race and I’m sure will help to make this the must do race each year.