Flynn beats pain
11 April, 2018, 12:00 am
How many times have you tried to walk or run miles in the shoes of someone else?
The South Pacific’s first ultramarathon — the Vodafone Lost Island Ultramarathon, is brimming with ultra-runners walking the talk physically along 200 kilometres of old village tracks, old logging tracks and disused roads in the interior of western part of Fiji.
It is just awe-inspiring to hear how one can give back and agree to push their body through the pain barrier with the objective of worthiness, as some strongly believe that causes are synonymous with running.
Meet Alex Flynn from the UK — he has walked or run about 10 million metres by 2014, despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2008.
This has become the catalyst in his life for showing people the possibility of creating positive change in the face of adversity.
He can be found doing some of the more complex, unexpected and, more often than not, dangerous challenges across the planet to raise awareness and hopefully more than £1 million ($F2.91m) towards vital research to find a cure.
He has completed the gruelling Marathon des Sables — a 250km race across the Sahara Desert, he has run 160 miles across the Bavarian Alps in 52 hours, 1457 miles from London to Rome in 30 days to meet the Pope out of which 400 miles was run with a stress fractured right tibia.
He became the first person to traverse the 3256 miles from Santa Monica to New York using four distinct disciplines in 2013, has crossed 200km of the Amazon Jungle, climbed and ran 90km of the Dolomites and 236km across the Colorado Rockies, achieving all three within an eight-week period and on January 24, 2014.
Alex met his goal of walking or running 10 million metres at the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon and has covered a distance of more than 6200 miles around the world. In the summer of 2015, he competed in the Men’s Health USA Ultimate Guy Competition, successfully reaching the final nine competitors out of over 1100 including Special Forces and the US Marines.
2016, brought about a new challenge of completing 5566 press-ups in 22 days to raise funds and awareness of PTSD, which affects military personnel and first responders. Alex managed to continue for 18 days reaching total of 3762 press-ups before his shoulder gave out.
In February 2017, Alex returned from the Arctic after attempting a 450 km expedition of Sweden’s Kungsleden-Kings trail, in freezing temperatures of -29°C.
One of the female athletes competing, Wendy Yee a Singaporean dance director is motivated by, “running for those who can’t”.
She began running two years ago with an aim to raise funds to remove all gender-based barriers that prevent individuals in Singapore from developing their potential to the fullest and realising their personal visions and hopes.
Wendy has run on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, in Western China at the Ultra Gobi, which is 250 miles of inhospitable desert.
“I would like to take this opportunity to help women who are less fortunate to get back up on their feet. To be empowered to live a good life despite the pass or the struggling situation they are in at the moment,” she said.
Wendy considers herself a very blessed woman and is surrounded by awesome people and blessed with a beautiful family.
For this footrace she is feeling safe and free to pursue her dreams and goals with the encouragement and support from many.
For this unique event, David Berridge not only ran to test his stamina, endurance and strength he was also fundraising for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance to save lives when there are road traffic collisions, sporting accidents, collapses, and many other incidents in his County.
Run as a charity, the ambulance receives no government or national lottery funding and it costs £3600 ($F10,532) a day to keep this vital, lifesaving service flying as the crew provide rapid response.
David was 35 when he decided to run 200km across the Sahara Desert at the Marathon Des Sable race, two years later he was in the Himalayas in 100 mile stage race and nothing stopped him as he took in more desert races, including the Kalahari, Namibia and the Atacama and then the Amazon jungle among other races.
At 54, his passion for endurance was not anywhere near waning and he ran for the same cause here in Fiji.
* Josephine Prasad is the
organising committee media and communications adviser.