Sunday, November 3, 2019

Mind over matter

Had the chance to volunteer for "Let's take a walk Singapore" yesterday. It's a long distance walking race with participants choosing to walk 20 KM, 50 KM, 100 KM or a grueling 150 KM. I had the privilege of checking in the 100 KM walkers at approximately their 64 KM mark and the 150 KM walkers at their 110 KM+ mark.

This race is not big, and it is a charity event. So neither does it have much media coverage nor does it have a huge prize money. What this means is that most participants are ordinary people (not athletes). The competitors are like you and me, with a day job, participating for fun and testing their endurance.

Most ultra long distance endurance athletes that I have spoken to tell me this - the muscle groups in the leg that we use for walking are slightly different than running. And long distance walking is way more difficult than long distance running because of the added element of time involved.

Being at a checkpoint where most participants had walked for more than 24 hours before reaching there was a surreal experience for me. These were ordinary human beings with extraordinary will-power. Imagine this. They all had walked a full-day or more under the grueling Singapore Sun. Most were walking alone with no company and only their sheer determination pushing them along. Almost every walker had few blisters on their feet and had blood stained socks. While we as volunteers tried our best to cheer them up and provide whatever basic first aid we had, the people pushed on with their own self-determination.

This event will go down my memory lane as an unforgettable evidence of how ordinary people like you and me can achieve extraordinary things in life.

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