Taking Ownership

Words by: Paul Charteris. Founder of Tarawera Ultramarathon.

When did it get so damn hard to stick with anything?

A 20-minute tv show that cannot be watched with checking your phone every three minutes. A report that needs to be written but you must know what is happening on Facebook – like right now. New years resolutions which are better called ‘new days’ resolutions – if even that.

‘Too many things, all the time’ are more than just an annoyance, they rob you of the ability to concentrate long enough to accomplish something meaningful.

Of the reasons you are distracted is because you’re not fully invested in the task at hand. It’s either too easy, not important enough, too mundane. Whatever the reason and whatever the excuse, you’re still not getting stuff done.

Taking on a massive challenge, one that is beyond what you even think is possible helps re-set your brain. All those things that used to be important (but never really were) fade into the background when you’re staring at a task that scares you all the way down to your pants.

For many, the thought of walking or running a marathon is incomprehensible. Running four marathons back to back (to back to back) is in the realms of lunatic stuff. Yet, this February, more than 200 runners from all over the globe will be in Rotorua to run more than 160km through the bush and forestry roads around eight of Rotorua’s lakes. For those that take part in the 100 miler option of this year’s Tarawera Ultramarathon, the decision to tackle such a monster is often driven by a desire to hit the reset button on life.

There are many reasons why these brave few set themselves such an enormous challenge. Sometimes it’s because life has become either too comfortable, too monotonous or devoid of meaning. Perhaps life has become too full of ‘little things’ – and not enough ‘big things’. Underlying that are often personal desires to improve health (mental and physical) and to be a role model for family and friends.

Taking on a 100 miler is all about taking ownership of life. It’s a step back that says, I am going to achieve something extraordinary. Something far outside my comfort zone and beyond what I, my friends and family would have even thought possible.

Ownership comes from taking control of the process to get there. Eating well, forming friendships, training diligently and learning are all part of the journey. Taking ownership is not about taking shortcuts. Any attempt to shortcut the process inevitably results in a world of pain somewhere on the 100-mile course.

The next time you catch yourself checking Facebook for the twentieth time before noon, think about someone with the discipline and diligence to run 100 miles. Imagine walking a mile in their shoes. Next, picture yourself running 100.

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