Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Extreme Challenge - 50 Marathons in 50 Days

Video: Dean Karnazes 50-50-50

No, I'm definitely NOT planning to run 50 marathons in 50 days but I am intrigued and filled with the utmost respect and admiration for individuals who dare to attempt such challenges.

Last year, the comedian Eddie Izzard ran 43 in 51 days, raising £200,000 for Sports Relief. His 1,100 mile journey took him around the UK.

And recently I stumbled across a newspaper article about Hugh Williams-Preece who will be attempting to run 50 marathons in 50 days running from Lisbon to London - some 1,300+ miles to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care. His extreme challenge begins on 03 March 2010.

I lost the newspaper but wanting to know more about this challenge I searched the Internet. This led me to Dean Karnazes who took the aforementioned challenge a step further.

Dean Karnazes completed 50 marathons in 50 days in 50 different states and, just to dispel any lingering doubt you may have in your mind, he completed this feat in 50 consecutive days. And he claims to be just an "average guy".

His motivation was to highlight the level of obesity in young people. This is an issue that

"Our mission is really to inspire and motivate kids to get outdoors and become more active."
Dean Karnazes

This is an issue that currently has the attention of the First Lady Michelle Obama as she launches the Let's Move! Campaign.

"...due to rising levels of childhood obesity, our Nation's youngest generation could actually face a shorter expected lifespan than its parents."
First Lady Michelle Obama

However, in completing this ultra endurance feat Dean Karnazes inspired people of all ages to join him in at least a leg of his run and or to set ambitious goals of their own.

It's a funny thing though. On one level you do feel inspired by the Dean Karnazes of this world and, on another level, you can also feel quite the opposite because "average" just doesn't describe such individuals.

So, if like me, you've no intention of running 50 marathons what are some of the lessons you can learn from Dean Karnazes regarding goal setting and goal achievement?

Here are two lessons although there are many more...

1. Build a Clear Vision

Without a clear vision you'll falter at the first hurdle.

As Mattias Schmelz said:

"It is not the wings that will give you the vision. It is your vision that will give you the wings".

In other words your vision should be such that it continues to motivate and inspire you when the going gets tough – and it will. And your vision should be such that it inspires and motivates other to want to support you in achieving your goal.

Dean Karnazes was pleasantly surprised by just how many people turned up to run in some of the marathons he was running to support him by running along with him. In many cases, people came from so far that they had to fly to the event.

And so your vision will help you to build your team. Therefore, it's not sufficient to just have a vision you must be able to clearly articulate it as well.

2. Build Your Team

As Bill Bartmann says:

"Nobody accomplishes BIG by themselves."

So you have to have a team to support you. If you're seeking to achieve something big then there will be lots of components to your goals - lots of moving parts. And you will only be good at handling certain elements. Other elements you'll have to "outsource" or get other people to deal with.

Ideally, the first members of your team will be your family even if all they do is give you moral support - something which should not be overlooked. In Dean Karnazes case, his wife worked tirelessly behind the scenes to organise travel arrangements. Just think of how involving it can sometimes be to organise just one trip. Remember, Dean Karnazes marathon challenge was completed over 50 consecutive days in 50 different states - that takes marathon co-ordination!

Clearly you have to hand-pick your team so that you have individuals 'working' on your behalf that you completely trust so that you're free to focus on other elements of your goal.

100-Day Challenge - Start Fast Finish Strong

The human body is just awesome in what it can achieve. Medical studies had suggested that running long distances might be physiologically damaging and so another of Dean's goals was to disprove this theory and so every day throughout that 50 days his blood was sampled and tested.

When Dean Karnazes started this particular challenge he weighed in at 154lbs. He finished the first marathon in a time of 3 hours 50 minutes and the last in a time of 3 hours and 30 minutes. At the end of the challenge he weighed 153lbs.

Dean Karnazes sure knows how to start fast and finish strong!

And, so if individuals can run 50 marathons in 50 days, what goal can you accomplish in 100 days? What goal will you accomplish in 100 days?

Gary Ryan Blair's 100-Day Challenge is the ideal support system for anyone wanting to achieve something significant but this current program is it's available for just a few days more.

Click the link below for full details:

100-Day Challenge


Tomorrow, one of my mentors, Kathleen Gage, will be my guest author with a post titled "You Reap What You Sow When Building A Business".

So please be sure to visit Skyline Coaching Blog tomorrow to read Kathleen Gage's article and also to offer your comments on the subject. Kathleen, herself will be on hand to respond to any comments you make.