#21in2021 Journal: they come in threes

Google will tell you that bad things come in threes. It will also tell you that good things come in threes! In this latest #21in2021 Journal, I’ll just accept that things come in threes and that the three opening events of the year’s running and fundraising campaign have not quite followed the intended script.

Very superstitious, writing's on the wall

I’m not really the superstitious type.

Well, that is unless you count putting:-

  • my left sock on before the right one
  • my left trainer on before the right one
  • my left leg into my shorts before the right one
  • my left arm into my t-shirt / vest before the right one.

Oh, and when I was playing cricket:

  • my left pad went on before the right
  • my left glove went on before the right one
  • when the score was 111 or a multiple therein, ensuring that at least one foot wasn’t touching the floor

You get the general idea, not superstitious at all apart from every little thing to do with sport!!!

It’s fair to say, therefore, that I’m a creature of habit in the lead-up to any race. It’s also very fair to say that I’ve not really followed many of the habits in the build up to the first three events of this year’s #21in2021 campaign.

Equally fair to say, however, is that this has not been a significant factor in a slightly frustrating sequence of…

  1. Did not Start (DNS)
  2. Did not Finish (DNF)
  3. Did Not Start (DNS)

Every little thing is gonna be alright!

Perhaps more importantly, this start is accompanied by a very calm DNW – do not worry!

It’s not ideal but it’s not terminal. How we finish the journey is much more important than how we start it, and how we overcome setbacks will be much more significant than the content of the setback itself.

I can’t control the factors but I can control the response. You will have seen the event list changing rapidly over recent weeks but I can’t panic about that, just accept it and move on.

So far, the campaign has consisted of…

  1. Falling off my bike on my ride home 36 hours before the Lake Dorney Marathon – I can’t do anything about that!
  2. Making the decision after 14 miles of the Phoenix Spring Marathon that I was absolutely exhausted after a sixty hour work week
  3. Deciding yesterday that 26.2 miles in torrential rain and strong wind, around a fairly exposed lake, was going to be no fun whatsoever

Admittedly, there is very little room for any further DNF or DNS entries this year if I’m to achieve the goal of 21 marathons. However, there is even less room for self-pity and anxiety.

This morning's eighteen miles was a pleasant boost!

So what next?

The immediate next was to get out this morning and stretch the legs. I didn’t need to prove to myself, this morning, that I was right not to run yesterday … but it was nice just to confirm that my body believed what my mind was saying.

Eighteen miles later, body and mind are in sync. My legs are probably a bit more tired than I’d like but I did run over 70 miles last week (26th April to 2 May). It is definitely time to now nurse my body with what lies ahead during the remainder of May. Put simply, if I successfully navigate the waters ahead, I will be very comfortably back on schedule!

  1. Saturday 15 May – Shark Run
  2. Sunday 16 May – Marmalade Mooch
  3. Sunday 23 May – Runderbirds Five
  4. Monday 24 May – Runderbirds Four
  5. Tuesday 25 May – Runderbirds Three
  6. Wednesday 26 May – Runderbirds Two
  7. Thursday 27 May – Runderbirds One

All of these events are marathons organised by Rik and the crew at Phoenix Running… I’ll know the Thames Path intimately in and around Walton-on-Thames by the time I’ve finished!

I’ve never run seven marathons in thirteen days AND I’ve definitely never run five in five days! However, I firmly believe that the marathon is, at least 80% run in the mind, and just 20% in the body. My body will hurt but it is my mind that will dictate success or failure.

I also believe that my mind is stronger than it ever has been, illustrated actually by being strong enough to accept the DNF and DNS entries in the ledger, confident that I’ll benefit further down the line.

Run with Perseverance

Run with perseverance is much more than words alone, more than the name of a website. These words shape my life as a runner and, most importantly, as a Christian.

We often read the words from verses 1 and 2 from Hebrews 12. However, I find verse three, that follows, to be equally important.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:3 (NIV)

These next few weeks are definitely a time to maintain heart and to resist weariness. My mind will, inevitably, endure opposition from a tired body and the memories of DNS, DNF, DNS.

However, if I run with joy and perseverance, not allowing my heart to be troubled and with head held high, I will prevail.


Rohan Kallicharan

Rohan is an award-winning mental health campaigner and speaker with lived experience of mental illness. He has been involved in a number of high-profile campaigns to raise awareness and break down the stigma around mental ill-health. He is a sub-3 hour marathon runner, HR Director and husband to Claire.

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