Graham McKenna - Do It, It's Really That Simple!

I have always been blessed with a residual fitness and after joining the army, it only got better. I was one of those people that just ran; I was never elite but also, I didn’t quit. You know the kind, 'Oh I’ve just smashed 10k before breakfast' etc. I’d go as far as to say I used to look down at people who would train for a 5k and when I left the army I scoffed at work mates training hard for a half and asked them why they didn’t just 'do it!' So, I went and just did it and got my fastest time ever. This was over twelve years ago and I still had the stupidity of youth as well as supreme confidence that the army gave me.

Roll on twelve years and I’ve still not broken that PB, a real bug bear to me. I have, however, realised that running is a journey that we can all undertake. During a counselling session I likened it to life’s journey and it just kind of stuck with me.

Over the last few years I have started to see how hard people actually push themselves to train for an event. After joining a few online running clubs I have made some great friends and watched and cheered as people have progressed through C25K, 10k half marathons and beyond. I now believe that anyone taking on any distance for the first time should be applauded; it’s a massive leap of faith no matter what the distance.

I have an addictive personality. I won’t say I’m addicted to running but I will admit, I do enjoy it and am now happy to use running as an excuse to steer me away from other excesses. If I was to say that I have an addiction, it's trying to break my body in a healthy way; How far can I go? Can I really do that?

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realise that I no longer possess the fitness, stamina or stupidity of youth. To achieve the goals I now set myself, I too have to train just as hard as everyone else. As long as my body is fit and my mind is able, I’ll continue to push my boundaries. I still have a few 'bucket list' challenges that I’d love to do and as ever I’ll most likely do them for charity; helping others in the process.

This is my passion. I urge everyone to get outside, enjoy what nature gives us and if so inclined, RUN! Feel the breeze across your face, the ache in your legs, the burn in your lungs and the life in your blood, but most of all enjoy it.

I took part in the Portishead running event in 2019 and got to hear about Ben and his story (I’d been oblivious until then). His whole attitude and ethos rings true with mine and I knew he’d need as much support as possible. It also sounded quite epic!

I’m finding it ok, recently my running has slacked off but I do enjoy checking in to see where I am. The map option can really open your eyes to some great views and also make me think about how at times, just how monotonous it will be for Ben.

Has the USA Virtual Challenge helped you? Yes and No. I quite often forget about it. Facebook and its algorithms don’t help. If I don’t have anything on though it keeps me pushing onwards, with such a massive goal ahead of me I know I need to keep going. The facebook group is great though and its really nice to see the 'live' views of where people are.

I love the fact that you can use so many different exercises, it makes it so accessible. I did intend to only use Runs/Walks, but I’ve added a bike ride or two. This was my own choice and I think it is brilliant how many activity options there are.

Do it. It’s really that simple. The group is amazing and it really is so accessible, you’ll cover more miles than you thought.

If you want to join Graham and take part in one of our Virtual USA Challenge missions, you can register HERE, where will your adventure take you?

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