The idea to run the length of my beautiful home country, Ireland, came to me about a year ago. I was more than likely hammered drunk at that time and the arrogance that alcohol brings out was probably a key factor. There are always a seeds that plant themselves in my brain, some take root, others disappear. I don't really know why the idea to run this staggering distance in six days stuck, but it did. Perhaps I found myself peering into an empty bottle wishing someone would come and take away the pain of being an addict, knowing that really only I could save myself. Or wanting to prove to others that I have the guts and determination to pull off a feat of this magnitude.
Now here I am, one year on, eleven days away from six months of sobriety and thirty one days away from taking the first of about eight hundred thousand steps. The training has been mostly enjoyable ranging for 100-180 kms per week depending on time availability, races and general life living. The logistics of it all have been swamping and sleep has been lost but I always new a tipping point would come. That day happened to be yesterday when some much needed sponsorship in the form of nutritional supplies and transportation came my way. I will not go into the details of these sponsors just now as they deserve a more thorough mention than just a line or two in this post. I will be glad to write about them in the coming weeks. These uplifting developments have allowed me to concentrate on other things such finding a job for September when Pearl should be ready to so to school full time and to train without extra stress. The sponsorships also are indicative of the level of interest surrounding my quest and makes the adventure a more credible and tangible endeavour.
My commitment to doing the best for my family is what drives me more than any other factor. The appreciation I have for the people behind the scenes, some of whom have their own families and work hard, is staggering. Folks taking the time to help me is something I cherish above any material things in this world. I have truly the greatest support network there could be and hope that my efforts will do these people proud. And lets not forget the real reason I am doing this, a reason that sobriety helps me to see with a laser-like clarity. Autism. I have been incredibly moved and sometimes incredibly infuriated by the many, many stories individuals have shared with me along this journey. Through my run every one of my strides is aimed squarely at stamping on the ignorance and intolerance that is sometime displayed towards people who are different, the financial benefits will aid and reward those who fight the good fight. Those everyday heroes who soldier through a mine field of complex issues in order to afford their children the best chance possible at having a life. They are the real endurance kings because in the marathon of life, there are no days off.