The greatest achievement you will ever have isn’t a single moment in time — it’s your life, and every moment leading up to it.
We focus so much on overcoming adversity, we forget how great we are for surviving it. I wanted to lose weight my whole life, and once I did I missed the feeling of losing 114 pounds. I missed having to buy new clothes every month.
Regardless of my weight, or the miles behind me, there was still 26 miles of torture. Whether I died or not, it was something I loved. Regardless of what happened in the marathon, they couldn’t hurt me anymore.
Nerves were shot.
To the hundreds surrounding me I was just a man. They had no idea I was more. Cloaked in a 2013 Boston Marathon singlet I wore to honour the tragedy, and scraps of tape on my arms with each victim’s name, I promised I would do it for them. I saw that huge inflatable arc leading me into a life I never thought I would have — a thin life of hope where destiny lived.
I could put away the pain and I could prove miracles were real. I took my first step, and just like that, this once 320-pound, fat, blubbery, disgrace to sports, repulsive, hopeless sack of crap was running a marathon.
So sick of being a loser, for once in my life I needed to win. I felt more pain than I felt when my friend hanged himself years earlier, or the abandonment of who I thought was my soulmate. This was the reason I was born.
It was my dream, and mine alone to succeed. It’s your responsibility to pursue a dream and no one else’s.
I ran to overcome the past. I had no idea I already did. This was my destiny, and the sole purpose I walked the earth. True dreams never die unless you let them go. You were meant to be challenged with adversity, and you were meant to overcome it.
SNAP!!!! As I reach my crossroad of stopping at 21 km, or continuing, my hip snaps out of place. My heart drops the distance I just ran. I see the finish line, but it’s still 13 miles away. Maybe it was destiny to quit there, or five years earlier while passing out on my front porch after walking my 320-pound self a few hundred meters.
Maybe I should have quit when those cars pulled over to harass me. But maybe it was one more obstacle. I carried on for the sole reason anyone wanting to lose weight, reach a goal or simply believe ever should: because I could!
“Scott, I’ll never run a marathon, my weight has destroyed my life, I know what you’re doing, and though it’s too late for me, please do this and help me save my family before they follow my steps to obesity and give up on life,” going through my head constantly, that ever powerful Facebook message from a complete stranger I received days prior.
Hope can ignite anyone willing to look for it.
My stomach suggested I wasn’t a runner, my determination suggested I was.
For those who broke me, spat in my face, and made my life so horrible I thought suicide was the only option, I was doing this for them. I came over the walking bridge for the final time. My mind didn’t work, my feet were numb, but the dream was still alive. I didn’t care what I had been through. I didn’t care how much pain I was in. I didn’t care that a rock flew into my shoe, split my foot wide open, and left footprints of blood the final kilometre.
There was no way I was quitting in the final kilometre of a dream. Every dream is a series of steps away, the number of steps is irrelevant.
There I was, the final turn. My best friends flanked me on their bikes. Others held signs of my name. Bleachers of chaos clustered the closed road with the arc drawing closer. I bled, I cried, I moved forward, I stumbled, I groaned, then after all the pain this world could throw at me, all the perseverance, and all the torture, I succeeded.
Arms flew around me from all directions. I cried dry tears as my body no longer could spare the fluid. My foot continued to bleed, as my heart took in all I just did with thunderous applause. I proved miracles existed. I honestly believe the finish line was a start line for something else. I had to know this pain, to know I would heal. The day was mine, and no one could ever take that away.
I always believed things happen for a reason. Why else would bad things happen if we weren’t meant to overcome them? Though I wish a lot of my past never happened, I’m glad it did.
I did something a lot of people never thought I could. It was a lot more than a marathon. Each mile wasn’t a test of the strength I had, it was a symbol of how much pain one can overcome. We may never know our full potential, but that’s just more reason to know how great we can potentially be.
I wish you all the best in the journeys you take on. There’s so much to life. Getting hurt and being lost isn’t the end; it’s just an alternate path you were meant to take, leading to a destination no one will ever know besides you.
Don’t ever believe you can’t do something incredible, for each challenge you face is leading to the greatest moment you will ever live.
“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” —Thomas Paine