Picture the Saharan desert
Its desolate, unwelcoming habitat shatters your skin with the temperature reaching fifty degrees during the day, only to destroy you with a sub-zero dive once the sun disappears. Its silence penetrates your senses and fills you with solitude. It’s almost as if the planet itself was whispering into your ears: “You’re not welcome here.” You realise with humility how little you mean to the forces of nature and how small you are when placed against the backdrop of something so magnificent and scary.
Each year a bunch of runners from around the world makes pilgrimage to these brutal sand dunes to put their mental and physical endurance to the test. They run six marathons, spread unevenly across six days, covering a total distance of 156 miles or 254km. They carry all their food supplies, suffer through heat, blisters, scorpios, snakes. All so that they get to experience what it’s like to dance on the edge of one’s own limits. All in the hope that the person that reaches the finish line won’t be the same one that started the race.
Next year we intend to partake in that mad adventure
But this isn’t a story about running. How boring would that be? You put one foot in front of the other. Repeat for several hours. The end. No, this is a story about transformation. Yours, and those around you. And how we can all propel one another to unleash our full potential in life. All it takes is giving yourself permission to do so
A few years back she was diagnosed with cancer. Following a lengthy and tumultuous recovery process she was told by her doctor that she will have to reset her relationship with her body going forward. Different expectations. Definitely reducing her physical input, which basically meant that running was out of the question. But she wouldn’t have it. She had to at least try to get herself back up and retrain her stamina to the levels preceding the illness. Just this year she has reached her personal best at London Marathon, which she finished in 3h30m. And all thanks to the fact that she stuck the middle finger up and resolutely decided that she will fight for her health
Geoffrey had none of these experiences in his life. Because let’s face it, most of us won’t go through a terminal illness or face struggles with addiction. Most of us have life to worry about. Bills to pay, friends to see, work to do, career to attend to, ambitions to fulfill, happiness to achieve. And that’s the difficulty: how do you get through this endless roller coaster without causing casualties? Geoffrey found his sanctuary in running, which became a part of his good physical and mental hygiene. There is a sense of purpose in taking part in races which gives him grounding. He wants to give those around him a blueprint for how to stay motivated and treat your body with the kind of attention it deserves (he also bakes incredible cakes, so indulgence doesn’t end at healthy things!)
Adam on the other hand struggled for many years with substance abuse. No matter how hard he tried, he kept failing to control his compulsive relationship with drugs. When he contracted HIV in his late twenties, something broke within him. He realised that he needed to attend to his mental and physical needs in ways that don’t require putting his entire salary up his nose. Running was just the remedy. It has given him a chance to rediscover his body, taught him self-discipline and dedication, but most importantly became a form of meditation that keeps his racing mind in a peaceful state
We’re not special in any way. Just three dudes (well, two dudes, and one dudesse) who have the same shit going on in their lives, as you do in yours. But we refuse to be crushed under its weight. And that’s the point of our story. You don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to have an Olympic experience. Forget about being the best at this or that. Just do it anyway. Experiment. Be playful with what life has to offer to you. Because true joy lies in doing things. And if you push yourself hard enough, there is someone new waiting for you at the next checkpoint. A new, stronger, more confident version of yourself that stops hiding in the shadows and fearlessly claims the glory of every passing moment
But a transformation like that doesn’t happen in solitude. There are always people in our lives when we are down or need support, and this running endeavour is as much about us as individuals as it is about our community. We have teamed up with ReShape, who champion projects that help queer people improve their lives, and who create safe spaces where important discussions are taking place. They are the most wonderful group of individuals who worked for many years in the LGBT community, and are directly responsible for transforming many lives, yet never took any credit for it. We want to change that, and give them the recognition they deserve. We are fundraising on their behalf to reach an ambitious goal of £24k, part of which will support the costs of the race, with the rest funding projects dedicated to our queer family
Here’s how you can become a part of this journey:
Donate through the button below.
Come to one of our fundraising events and make a donation whilst having great fun and meeting new people (details to follow)
You can help us purchase some of the equipment that is needed for the race, list of which we will publish shortly
Spread the word, and mention us to your Instagram followers, facebook friends and twitter stalkers
Thanks for reading, and see you all soon!