Today, a very good friend of mine – an idiot called Bob – ran the Brighton Marathon. Next week, he will also run the London Marathon. All in aid of ‘Children with Cancer UK’, and you can sponsor/donate if you follow this link. But just to recap – Bob is doing two marathons a week apart. And I have no doubts he’ll do it.
Bob is one of a select bunch of friends and colleagues who I love because they are all about encouraging others to be the best they can be. I mentioned yesterday that my wife has taken to running in a big way. A large factor in this was Bob, who has encouraged her and gently pushed her to going further and faster in her running. She recently ran a half marathon after having entered a few 10k races. If you had said to her a year ago that she would run a half marathon, you’d have been called an idiot (probably).
I have another very good mate, Phil, who has done the same for me. We’ve done loads of mountain challenges together, and Phil got me round a mountain marathon orienteering challenge whilst I had suspected bronchitis! He has been a constant encourager with regards to getting fit but also with challenging myself in all areas of life, and his favourite phrase is ‘What’s next’? Whatever you achieve, he wants you to think about what your next challenge will be.
Today, I took my little girl out for her first bike ride without stabilisers. At first she wanted me to hold her arms as she slowly pedalled. I pointed out that she’d need a little speed to balance. She trusts me, so she sped up a bit. Soon, she was riding with just one of my hands holding the back of her hoodie. She could actually ride better than she realised, because I was barely providing any support. Every now and then she noticed this and, in order to test that I was still supporting her, would lean to the side so I had to take her weight. If I told her that she was doing it all on her own, she wobbled.
Whilst I was running alongside her though, I thought of Phil and Bob and other encouraging friends. And I was glad that somehow, I was instilling belief into my little girl. I know it might seem a bit dramatic – most kids learn to ride a bike around her age. But I was thinking beyond the bike riding. I hope to be someone she looks back on as an encouraging friend as well as dad. I hope to be a dad who made it safe for her to muck up and fail. One who spurred her on to be confident and excited about what she might achieve.
One of my proudest ever moments was taking her ice skating for thevery first time a couple of months ago, and on her second or third lap she suddenly started doing these awkward little split jumps as we skated round hand in hand, each one coming with the slight risk that we both fall down and I crush her little body under my weight! I asked her what made her start jumping and she just smiled and said ‘The idea came in my head, so I thought I’d try it’.
That’ll do me.
By the way – Bob, I hope you have a really great race on the 22nd. You idiot.