Training run in Male'
Training run in Male’

Run a marathon? That’s 42 painful kilometers! If you asked me a year ago, I would have laughed at it. But here I am now, having done it, I would recommend to each and everyone of you to run at least one marathon in your life time. Doesn’t matter if you finish in 3 hours, or just below 7 hours. Having the discipline and staying committed to keep on training for several months, and having the “mental” strength to start and run past the finish line is what matters the most. It takes an awful lot of courage and determination to endure such pain and discomfort to push and drag yourself to the finish line. It is journey of self discovery. Having redefined your limits, you would definitely like the “new” YOU!

 

Seeking adventure?

In July of 2015, after finishing skydive training, my adventure-seeking-soul was stirred by the many unforgettable moments of sheer fear and absolute wonder, sparking the daredevil in me, and setting free “the lost adventurer”. Towards the end of skydive training I was wondering what I wanted to do next, in my attempt to live-free and grow beyond the comfort-zone, which was rather small for me in my perspective as I have always had dreams to live a life full of adventures and exploration of new frontiers.

After few days of wishful thinking and consideration, I decided on 3 personal challenges that I wanted to undertake. Without a particular order of attempt, difficulty, or possibility of realization, the three challenges are:

  • Ironman: toughest single day triathlon consisting of 3.8 km swim, 180 km bike ride followed by a marathon (42.195 km run).
  • Summiting Mount Everest: the highest point on Earth, with its peak at 8848 meters (29,029 feet)
  • Rowing around the Maldives: initial plan was to row from North to South, later changed to a round-trip to make it more challenging

Wild and crazy, it all seems impossible to most people, and quite many believe it as hardly achievable. I do realize that my journey to attempt, let alone realize, these far-fetched dreams would not be easy at all. I have never rowed in the ocean (or anywhere), climbed a mountain, swam more than 100 meters, or run more than 5 kilometres. Having said that, the amount of money required for any of these of these challenges is massive. Nobody is gonna give that kind of sponsorship to anybody like me. Well, unless you can prove that you have what it takes, more than words and a dream, not only to dare, but to follow through and complete the almost impossible. At the time, these were all long-term goals. While continuing to learn as much as I can about each of these sport, I started leisurely going for swimming, biking, and running, during the month of Ramadan. Without any race on mind, my intention at the time was to get “extremely” fit.

 

How I started running

Few weeks later, without any formal training, I started racing, and completed a 5Km and 10Km race, before deciding to go for a marathon. I joined Runners Maldives in September 2015 after registering for Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon taking place on 6th December 2015, to formally begin marathon training with Coach Naseer Ismail.

Many firsts within a few months:

  • First race: 28th August 2015, 9th place in 10km open, Dhiraagu Road Race 2015
  • 5k race: 5th September 2015, 1st place in 5km track race, Minivan 50 MiniOlympics, Police Club
  • Swimming competition: 7th September 2015, 4th place in 400 meter swimming, Minivan 50 MiniOlympics, Police Club
  • Half marathon: 2nd October 2015, 4th place in
  • Triathlon: 16th October 2015, Thinvaru Triathlon (400m swim, 10km bike, 5km run) finishing in 2nd place.
  • Maldivian Half Marathon Championship 2015 with a timing of 1 hour 36 minutes.

Second week of October: serious training for marathon begins.

  • Marathon: 6th December 2015, Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, with a timing of 3 hours 36 minutes
  • First ultra marathon: 31st December 2015.
    • a continuous 24 hour run around Male’ City
    • the first 24 hour run in the Maldives – covering a distance of 145.8 kilometres.

 

What next?

I have reached a few personal goals in the last 6 months, adapted to an endurance lifestyle, expanded my comfort zone and extended the circle of life. Running was the initial phase of my training to get aerobically strong, and mentally tough. Having run longer distances than I thought I possibly could, having endured pain and discomfort for long hours than I could’ve imagined possible, I have come to believe that I have what it takes to go through mentally and physical demanding activities. Now I am getting prepared to undertake the first challenge and the toughest challenge on my list – rowing around the Maldives.

Once the mind sets a limit, it would be far from possible for the body to take you to achieve it. So do not set a limit to what you think you can do. If there is something you want to do, if there is a dream you want to realize, put you heart, mind and body in it first, and you are halfway there. The only thing that’s stopping you from going there is you!

Cheers!
Hammett