To give this a little context, firstly I'm going to rewind to last year…
I had decided to grow a moustache for the Movember Foundation. A wave of part madness, part ambition swept over me and I announced that for every pound I raised I would pull a sled, loaded with my body weight, along the 20m track at the gym where I work. Flash forward a month and I ended up doing 3.5 kilometers!
Since then I've decided I'll do a challenge for charity at least once a year. Naturally then, when January rolled around I started thinking of my next one.
The challenge of a lifetime
My girlfriend Emily had signed up to the Great North Run for the MS Trust because her mum has MS. I really wanted to support her and as someone on my mum's side of the family also had MS, I decided to sign up too. A few weeks passed and I found myself thinking about ways to raise money and again the little voice of ambition (and possibly madness!) appeared.
I thought about doing another sled pull of 5k, but that wouldn't have been much further than the last time. Then the voice said "Why don't you do the full Great North Run distance?" I couldn't possibly... Hang on, I think we're on to something here.
My plan comes together
I started working out the logistics of this and how it would happen. It would have been epic to try it all at once, however with the run coming up in September that could potentially result in injury and a mental and physical burnout. I work as a personal trainer so I also had to think of my clients and how I would manage it around work.
Out came the notepad and I worked out that I needed to do 1,055 lengths of the track in the gym. If I did one 20m length every minute that would be 17.5 hours of constant sled pushing or pulling. I came to the conclusion that I would do 2 sessions of 26 lengths and 1 session of 54 lengths per week as a minimum in the time available before the Great North Run.
It was realistic enough and I could just do it on breaks between clients or before work.
Why am I doing this?
A lot of people have asked me why I am doing all of this, usually with a confused look on their face. But the reasoning is pretty simple. Because I can.
I'm lucky enough to have my health and to be able to do these challenges and a lot of people out there can't. I've seen first-hand how MS can change people's lives, so for me raising money for the MS Trust was a no brainer.
Also, in all honesty I think challenges like this really just come down to putting one foot in front of the other and chipping away at it, and I think there is a lot to be said about that. Breaking down big tasks and challenges seems like a simple idea but it's so effective and helps to create a road map ahead for you.
If there’s one message I really want to get across to people, it is that no matter how big or small the challenge is, if you just keep taking it one step at a time, small wins make for huge achievements.