After 1,250 kilometres in 32 days – an average of nearly a marathon per day for more than a month – I did it and I am still slightly buzzing about it, seeing that I had never done a marathon before this trip.
It was a great relief to know I had finished. I’d lost 6kg, my legs were getting worse and worse, and I looked like some kind of crazy bearded hobo.
The run had been incredibly challenging, but also a life-changing experience. Every little interaction along the way, with the people, the truckers and the policemen – good and bad, kept me moving to see what was around the corner. It wasn’t so much a fear of failure but a fear of missing the next moment along the way.
Although this was a solo and self-supported run, I never felt alone. The generosity of local people in Kenya, who didn’t have much to give, going out of their way to help and support me; Running with me, giving me a place to stay and taking me out to see what Kenya had to offer, is something I will be eternally grateful for.
But I suppose the biggest lesson I learned…………….was actually about myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there are words to describe how torturous it is to wake up the morning after morning knowing that you’ve got yet another marathon in front of you.
But running alone, day after day, I also found out that I had self-discipline and a drive that I didn’t know existed. I realised that endurance is as much a mental sport as it is physical, and even if my body was breaking down, I could always keep going a little further – just as long as I had the willpower. A lot of people on social media have been asking what next. I’d be lying if I said that this is the end. This run opened up a whole new world for me. I discovered family, quite literally, that I never knew existed, and I was reunited with friends that I thought were lost. Many people tend only to scratch the surface of their potential; preferring to stay safely in their comfort zone and never troubling themselves to step outside into the unknown. But if my trip taught me anything that it’s only when we have truly been tested, that we can even begin to understand how far our potential can go.
So if there’s one thing to take this adventure, it’s that there are no shortcuts to elation. Anything worth pursuing is going to require you to suffer in order to reach your target because if that wasn’t the case, it wouldn’t be worth doing it.
When I was at my lowest; hungry and depressed in the middle of Kenya, I got a message from one of my Instagram followers, who sent me a kind message of support. I read a quote on her page that I supposed, stayed with me throughout:
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”