Every day WordPress publishes a prompt for a blog post. I love seeing these and thinking about what I might write, but have never actually written a response. Until now.
When I saw this prompt, I knew that it was a post I would have to write:
Tell us about something you (or a person close to you) have done recently (or not so recently) that has made you really, unabashedly proud.
You see, today is Fathers’ Day. A day to celebrate the men who helped to raise us, who had a profound influence on our formative years. For my husband Steve, it is sadly the first Fathers’ Day without his father, Harry.
It was Harry who first introduced Steve to running and taught him that taking part is far more important than being the best. Steve has never looked back, having run a number of marathons and countless other races, whilst inspiring others (including me) along the way. This year, he has taken on a huge fundraising challenge in memory of his dad. As part of that, he took on the additional challenge of running all 4 adult races in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival: 10k and 5k on Saturday followed by the half marathon and full marathon on Sunday (made possible by a speedy trip back to the centre of Edinburgh from Musselburgh by motorbike, just in time to be the last person across the start line of the marathon!).
And this is what makes me really, unabashedly proud: Steve’s selfless dedication to his challenge and the inspiration he has provided for others by proving that everything is possible.
Steve knew that whatever he chose to do, it would truly have to be a challenge for him, that running “just” a marathon would not raise nearly enough money for Macmillan Cancer Support – people would simply think, “there’s Steve running a marathon. Again.” He knew that he was going to have to go big.
Thus the idea began to form. And grow. Before we knew it, Steve’s picture was in the newspapers with details of what he was setting out to do and why. More importantly, people began to donate. Steve was already inspiring people through his zero to 5k running clubs, and now he was inspiring people with his own endeavours.
As the marathon weekend rolled around, things became rather surreal. In between the two Saturday races we were both interviewed live on a local radio station and later in the day as we walked along the street in Edinburgh a complete stranger stopped Steve, shook him by the hand and wished him luck for the next day. Word was spreading via social media about the lunacy he was going to undertake on the Sunday and both good luck messages and further donations were flooding in.
I, too, was running in the marathon on the Sunday so had no idea how it had all gone until we met up in the charity tent afterwards. I was sore from a niggling injury, Steve was sore but elated from his achievement that day. He’d had to race the half marathon at a pace close to his personal best in order to make it back for the marathon and, when most other runners in that race were putting their feet up or enjoying a treat, Steve was back out on the course running twice as far. People were talking about what he had achieved and a number of photos were taken (Steve himself insisting that I be in some of them, when let’s face it, nobody was all that interested in me!). Later, when the Edinburgh marathon posted some of these photos on their Facebook page, there was an overwhelming response – some thought Steve completely mad, but all were incredibly supportive.
He even (inadvertently) found himself accosted by a couple of “groupies”. Whilst visiting the toilets in our hotel prior to travelling home, I overheard a conversation between two girls who had run the half marathon. One was asking her friend if she had heard about “that guy who had run all four races.” I couldn’t help myself interrupting and announcing proudly that “that guy” was my husband who was currently waiting for me in the corridor outside! They rushed out with me to ask Steve questions about the day and request a photo with him. Steve, humble as ever, was a bit bamboozled by their request, but happily posed for the photo. To him, it was really no big deal: he had decided to do it and so he did. Very Forrest Gump!
It may have been the raw, post-marathon emotions, but in the days afterwards I felt so proud of what Steve had achieved that I really thought I might cry every time I thought about it. Not tears of pain or tears of sadness, but tears of absolute pride at what my husband had achieved to help make a difference for other people. Such pride that I think I really do have the right to brag about my husband and what he has done.
Steve’s dad continued to take a keen interest in our running endeavours to the last. I’m sure on that day he, too, would have been beaming with pride at what his son had achieved. And today, on Fathers’ Day, I dedicate this post to Harry, the man who made my husband the wonderful, caring and inspiring person he is today.
What achievements (your own or someone else’s) make you proud?
What life lessons have you learned from your father?