This has been one of the most difficult weeks in years. I’m feeling tired and a little overwhelmed. Acutely aware that 10 weeks today I will be running through Germany on the first day of my 6 week run across Europe, I’ve been considering my motivation.
On many fronts it’s been a good week: intense but productive meetings, running mileage increasing to 70 miles and feeling physically strong. In other ways it’s been devastating: long work days with travel to Germany and Denmark and most significantly insomnia, as my mind grapples with some personal difficulties.
I wonder why I just wrote “personal difficulties” ? Why am struggling to write the truth? It’s these thoughts that have made me question my motivation for run Europe.
I’m always motivated by my desire to stay healthy. I set difficult challenges not to achieve the end goal, but to experience the process. For me to stay mentally and physically healthy, I have to stay focused so that my excessive tendencies are managed. Although high in confidence, I’m not high on experience or fitness. My challenges need to be tough enough to scare me into training, so that I stay on the straight and narrow. So I stay focused.
What should I be writing, instead of the meaningless words, “personal difficulties” ?
That a wonderful young man, whom I’ve known since childhood, a family friend, one who has always been too good for this world, one of the most giving individuals I’ve ever met… decided to end his life earlier this week.
I haven’t seen him in awhile, but my mind is flooded with memories, his seeing eyes, his gentle smile, his childish laughter. I’m distraught for his parents, children, friends and all those who loved him. It hasn’t sunk in; there is disbelief that such a beautiful soul has gone, leaving a huge gaping hole.
A few weeks ago I told you I was running Europe to raise awareness about something I’ve experienced, domestic violence. I am. But I’ve realised we need to urgently talk about men.
We need to talk TO men.
We need to tell them it’s ok to feel weak, troubled and want to cry.
It’s ok to ask for help.
The memory of this amazing man will be with me every step of the way, I’m dedicating my run to him. Already, his tragic, sudden death has had positive consequences and his friends are talking, opening up, that will have a ripple effect.
Suicide is the number one killer of men in our society. This is the second male to be lost in this way that I know, in the last six months, and the third overall that I know.
If we can encourage others to use exercise for stress relief maybe we can prevent another death? If we can open up to one another – maybe we can save another life?
We all have disputes with our family, friends and colleagues, but don’t waste another day. Life is too short, be kind to each other, listen, look for the signs and be there. Tomorrow may be too late.
He is my motivation.
You are my motivation – your life matters.