“You don’t need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities & challenges offered by the present moment & to embrace them with courage, faith & hope.” – Thomas Merton
There is an ultra-marathon that was run each year between Sydney and Melbourne.
The runners are supported by a team, they run for 18 hours, sleep for 6, wake up and run again. For a freaking week!
Which is why the sight of a one particular man at the starting line was so unexpected.
In 1983 Cliff Young arrived at the race to compete. He didn’t prequalify, didn’t pre-register, and didn’t look the part. The organizers told the man he could not race.
Young explained that he grew up herding sheep, never had help on the farm and certainly wouldn’t need help in the race. The 61-year-old, far from a traditional ultra runner, shared this sentiment while wearing a serious face, a pair of blue jean overalls and large rubber boots. This is what he wore on the farm; it was what he would wear in the race.
The organizers allowed Cliff to run.
The race began and he immediately fell behind.
One race official and Cliff’s trainer, his 81-year-old mother, stayed back with him.
Keeping a steady pace, he amazingly ran for 18 consecutive hours like the other competitors.
But while they all rested, Cliff kept running. No one explained to him the typical manner to run the race. No one explained it was impossible to keep running. So the 61-year-old ran on in the only manner he knew: until the race was finished.
By the time the other racers awoke in the morning, Cliff, his mother, and one observer had trekked past them. The other runners and organizers were more entertained, than concerned. They knew no one could keep that pace.
They may have known what was impossible, but Cliff did not.
The farm boy with rubber boots ran for five consecutive days. He did not stop. He did not sleep. And he beat the previous record for the race by almost two days.
Upon crossing the finish line Cliff was greeted by adoring fans who had been following his stunning progress. He was also greeted with a medal and a check for $10,000. He explained to the organizers that he didn’t run for money and asked they split the check among the competitors still running.
My friends, I am not a runner. I certainly do not have a “26.2” sticker on the back of my car.
What impresses me so much about this man and his story is the reminder that what we know to be possible, is possible. And what we know to be impossible, is impossible. [Tweet this.]
So my challenge to you, as the race begins this Monday morning, is to answer this question: What have you been telling yourself just won’t happen in your life?
Today is the day you silence that voice in your head, grab your rubber boots, throw on the overalls, quit making excuses and begin running the best race of your life.
Maybe today is the day to realize that regardless of mistakes and missteps of yesterday, the best is yet to come.
Have you ever experienced doing something that you had once thought impossible? If so, please share in the comments below to inspire us all to rethink the impossible.