I awoke this morning to the inspiring tale of Claire Lomas in the Independent Newspaper – Claire had finished the London Marathon. So What? You may ask. The exceptional thing was that she finished the Marathon sixteen days after everyone else and the other exceptional thing was that she completed it in a bionic suit. Claire had been in an accident in 2007 that left her paralysed from the waist down and now she was doing marathons.
A significant achievement, I think.
Normally, I am unfazed by people who climb mountains, go sailing around the world or do other death defying stunts as frankly, I cannot understand why anyone would deliberately put themselves at risk just to be able to say ‘I climbed Mount Everest’. So what? You may have come back with no toes and your lips frozen off but what is the point? Who does it help? (Unless of course you were sponsored.) Unfortunately, for me who comes from Africa where people are struggling to find food to eat, it seems pretentious and a waste of time to spend your precious time climbing a mountain or sailing round the world to beat a record.
Sorry, just me having a vent.
This one struck me because I lived with someone who lost the ability to walk and was paralysed from the neck down and I have seen the other side of this. It is too easy to give up on living when you lose your ability to walk, to run, to jump, to lift your children, to do what a normal man would be able to do without any thought. My father was cut down in his prime with a car accident that changed all our lives forever. And unfortunately, he never seemed the same afterwards.
This Claire Lomas however, on the face of it seems to have decided to live as full a life as possible despite her setbacks. She is only my age and I am uncertain if I would have the wherewithal to try to do this. In fact I know I would not do this. If I had managed to drag myself out of the POMs (Poor Old Me), I would probably spend my time trying to be happy for my family and serve them as best I could. (Yes, my thoughts on doing unnecessary stunts would probably still stand!). I hope she is as happy when she is not in the public eye as she seems on the newspaper cover.
16 days of walking, 16 days of what I imagine would have been a pretty difficult experience. This would have been exacerbated by the marathon organisers refusing to give her an award for completing the marathon. The rules seem to be that it must be completed before 6pm on the day of the marathon. How could she have kept going? What gives a person so much determination; so much resolve and so much willpower that they would keep on walking despite discouragement, tiredness, their own body failing? I want that!
I want that determination, that resolve, that will power because Man, there are times when life hands you a load of Rubbish and you just want to lie down and quit. At times like that, we could all do with this kind of fortitude. At times like that, you are a lone woman trying to stand against the tide of life that is trying to drag you under and there may be no one cheering you on; at times like that, we all need this strength of will to continue on and finish last if necessary.
We just need to finish.