Isn’t it funny how life’s big goals work? We set them at a stage when they seem scary and hard to fathom, or at least we should. We figure that if we are ever able to actually achieve them, it will bring immense satisfaction, happiness and in some cases – closure. Often however, it isn’t until we achieve the big goal, that we realise the journey, the chase, the pursuit, rather than the attainment, was perhaps the biggest thrill and attraction all along.
I have been lucky to compete at an elite level in various endurance sports for more than a decade. When I look back, these years have essentially been a continued process of setting goals, working hard to achieve them and in many cases making it happen. I have come to find that the bigger and harder the goal, the greater the sense of satisfaction and gratitude when it is achieved, but also the bigger the sense of emptiness that follows. I am OK with this as I have experienced it for long enough to accept it as an important part of the journey.
Picture this then. When I first did the Coast to Coast in 2008 and won the two day event, I wanted to some day win the flagship race, the Longest Day aka World Multisport Champs. Lets not revisit race day here, but please if you have not already, take a look at my race through the remarkable lens of Korupt Vision on YouTube by clicking here. Sufficed to say that winning the race would rank as one of the best moments of my career. I’d been so tunnel-visioned, so intensely focused on doing whatever it would take to win, that I literally hadn’t looked a day past February 9th 2019. Eleven years after I first set the goal (in my subconscious at least).
It has taken the best part of 12 weeks to bring myself to a point where I feel ready to begin training again with intent and structure. I’d be lying if I said retirement hasn’t entered my mind at times, such was the overriding sense of contentment and satisfaction, as if the Coast to Coast presented an ‘end result’ to everything I had worked for as an athlete. But at a deeper level I guess I knew there were still things I loved about my athletic life that seem to be burning as brightly as ever inside. The time off has given me a chance to let the hunger develop again. It has also been a wonderful chance to spend more time with my family.
So onwards we go. There is plenty to look forward to over the coming months and I thank those who support what I do. Next up is the ASB Otago Sports Awards where I am a finalist for sportsman of the year, something that makes me very proud when I consider how far multisport has come in the world of mainstream sports. When I caught up with Andy Lawrence (owner of Landmark Homes Central Otago, my number one sponsor for the past two years), I explained as best I could what he’d made possible for me. His support came at a time when Challenge Wanaka had just cancelled its full distance race which was a massive blow to my ambitions to continue racing professionally. Since that moment and with his support, I have been able to return to the race that matters the most in my heart, the Coast to Coast. I was able to prepare with the laser-focus I knew it’d require of me to win. Then blow me down I did. All while his team built our beautiful new home in Lake Hawea. Landmark Homes and the many other people and organisations that support me are what have helped get me back to a point where I am ready to go again. So here goes…
•Wengan Adventure Race, China – June 17-19th
•Embrunman Extreme Long Distance Triathlon, France – August 15th
•Suqian + Wulong Adventure Races, China – September
•Xterra China, Kunming – Sep 22nd
•Motu Challenge, Opotiki, NZ – Oct 12th
•The Pioneer, NZ – Dec 1st – 6th
•Kathmandu Coast to Coast World Multisport Champs, NZ – Feb 7th (2020)