You will have heard that Standard Bank plc organised the Be More Race in Lilongwe on June 9. Many people competed in the race which had three categories: five kilometres (km), 10 km and 21 km. It was inspiring to see many people take part in this challenge.
Initially, I never thought I am the type of person that can participate in anything to do with running. However, a friend that I play squash with kept talking about his preparations for the race. Crispin Kulemeka is well into his 60s and nearly the age of my mother.
But when we play on the squash court against each other, it is a real battle between friends. The age gap between us is not apparent on the squash court. This is because Crispin is super fit, in fact much fitter than me and most squash players, not to compare him with people who are not physically active.
Crispin had planned to run in the 10 km category and tried to persuade me to join him about a month before the race. I later thought that if a man who is nearly 25 years older than me can do 10 km then I can at least attempt five kilometre. I started practising for the five kilometre. I was running at least four times a week in preparation. By the second week, I was able to run five kilometre and by the third week, I had advanced to eight kilometres. I then gained the confidence to upgrade myself to the 10 km category. By fourth week, I was ready to compete in the 10 km race.
Prior to this, I had never thought that I could even finish running a three kilometre distance. Crispin made me believe that I could do it. A big lesson for me there! Sometimes we fail to even attempt big things simply because we tell our mind to believe that we cannot do it. It all begins with the mind. Once the mind believes, all impossible things immediately become very possible.
When I told Crispin that I was now ready to compete in the 10 km category, he congratulated me and he felt proud to have inspired me. Then, he told me that he was fit to also upgrade his category from 10 km to 21 km. I was so impressed.
On the day, Crispin ran 25 km and completed that distance in the admirable time of just two hours and 41 minutes— that is averaging 9.3 km per hour. What a feat for any person, especially for someone approaching mid-60s. This should be a lesson to all those above 60 that think they are getting old. Old is in the mind. Crispin is ‘young’ at above 60. Once you believe, you will be strong and energetic.
At the end of the race, I met a few friends. One amazing anecdote was when I saw Robert Kalanda—an accountant at Escom—completing his five kilometres race all with his clutches. Robert got his mobility impaired in a road accident some five years ago or so. Since then, he walks with the support of clutches. I never expected Robert to run. He run and completed his race. I walked to him and as I hugged him in disbelief, he told me”It’s all about the mind”.
Once you believe, you can do it.” If someone on clutches managed to run five kilometres and finished the race sweating heavily, what more those of us not on clutches.
Extrapolate this to other spheres of life and you will see that we get stuck to our clutches and see many impossibilities. Once we believe in the mind, we will run any life’s race in spite of the many ‘clutches’ we have in our hands.
Believe and you will. Make your mind believe good things. Believe positively. Avoid negativity at all costs and then you will triumph. It is belief in mind that made Crispin— well into his 60s—to complete 21 km. It is belief that made Robert complete the 5 km race on his clutches. You too can!