Maybe the impossible… is really just improbable

Something major happened in a relatively small and obscure part of the athletic world this past weekend. It’s the sort of thing that makes you stop and think. This thing… if you look at it in a big picture sort of way… kind of makes you realize (as if you needed another clue)… that maybe there is no limit to what we are capable of.

It’s all relative – put this in perspective.

An event called The Barkley Marathons occurred this past weekend. It is widely regarded to be the hardest footrace on the planet. There is no quick and easy way to describe to you how very physically and mentally demanding this race is – most people… honestly… simply cannot comprehend it. Suffice it to say… it is generally considered to be on the edge of human capability and next to impossible. This past weekend… a man named John Kelly became the 15th ever finisher in the race’s 31 year history.

Every once in a while… 

something truly special happens that gives people hope and inspires (a) movement of some kind. I think this year’s Barkley Marathons finish provided just that.

For the full interview with John Kelly about his incredible Barkley Marathons 2017 finish (plus more!) check out the podcast episode on iTunes here, on Android here, or on the web player at the bottom of this post. Don’t forget to hit “subscribe”!

It bears repeating: Attitude is everything.

Ask any marathoner or, especially, ultramarathoner out there. Ask anyone who’s made it through a massive weight-loss journey and kept the weight off. Any dancer or professional athlete. Anyone who’s done anything difficult and worth doing. They will tell you… attitude can make or break you.

And that, in the end, is what makes a Barkley Marathons finisher.

I used to think, as many people do, that in order to achieve something like this you must be a super-elite athlete… a world-record holder… and have top results in the “biggest and baddest” ultramarathons out there. John does not fit this description. Instead… he is an “average joe”. He trained properly, respected the event, and had a no-quit attitude.

John Kelly - Barkley Course Photo

Photo Credit – Ed Aramayo

The Barkley Marathons is one of the great equalizers of our time.

It doesn’t care who you are or how “great” your athletic achievements. That’s why someone like John can finish the event while many of the most prolific endurance runners have met defeat. John Kelly is proof to us all that the “impossible” IS possible… whatever it is… as long as you put in the work and believe in yourself. Lucky for us… he’s joined me today to tell his tale and share just how he made it through.

What happened at this year’s Barkley Marathons was special.

There were, as always, many great triumphs and incredible efforts given forth by the 35 participants who were lucky (or unlucky) enough to toe the start line. There were two very particular triumphs of the human spirit that occurred, though. That of John Kelly and Gary Robbins. They had teamed up and worked together for four of the 5 loops of the course… but to start lap 5, they were forced to go different directions around the course. That is where their stories diverge. That is where we see that next level… the edge of reason and ability, where all that remains to see you through to the end is a little thing your high school football coach might’ve called “heart”.

I will always be floored by things like this.

John Kelly, Barkley Marathons finish

Photo Credit – Joe Kelly

There’s just something so special and important about people going up against seemingly impossible odds. You can’t help but root for them, cheer them on, feel joy for their highs and despair with them on the lows. I think, in some small way, we feel their struggle reflects our own… and we need them to succeed and overcome so that we, too, can feel it’s possible to succeed and overcome in our own struggle.

There’s no denying… seeing John Kelly triumph to become the 15th finisher of The Barkley Marathons is a monumental achievement. It’s something that should prove to us all beyond a shadow of a doubt… that we, too, CAN achieve our goals. All we have to do is train, respect the magnitude of our task… and believe we can do it. Believe we truly have no limits preventing us from accomplishing the goal. Join me for episode 32 and my chat with John by following the links below.

What’s in this episode:

  • Darrell has a new job!
  • Megan makes AMAZING Turkey Chili
  • The Barkley Marathons happened last weekend
  • John Kelly – Barkley Marathons 2017 finisher/winner (15th ever) joins us!
    • WHO IS John Kelly?
    • Life outside of running
    • Getting into running
    • The ultramarathon switch
    • Why Barkley
    • The first 2 attempts
    • Barkley Marathons success… and how to achieve it

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