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I wanted to begin this month with an update about the Mark Webber Challenge: as my regular readers would recall in December I competed with my best friend Andy in the Mark Webber Challenge – an adventure race held in Tasmania. The race attracts entrants from all over the world: Italy, France, Brazil, the mainland, etc… It is a test of endurance, ability, and navigation in some of the most picturesque locations Tasmania has to offer.

As some would recall I was feeling unprepared for the race; like I had let myself down through a lack of training, I was also concerned I was going to let my best friend down because I hadn’t been committed enough.

The three days that we competed in were the hardest days of physical activity that either of us had ever undertaken. Day one took 10.5 hours to complete, day two was a little better at 10 hours, and the light at the end of the tunnel was a guaranteed 6 hours on day three. 6 hours yes but definitely not an easy day by any means – racing to the nine summits that surround Hobart. In the end all of our training paid off though with a surprising second in the Ambassador Cup, and as much as the trophy means to us it was the realisation that no dream is lost if you put your mind to it that was the real victory. I walked away with a greater trophy that day….

Partially as a deflection of the disappointment for the way I was letting myself down through not training enough, or possibly wholly, I was manifesting a great deal of disappointment in what I perceived as a lack of support from my best friend and partner in this challenge. My reasons for wanting to embark on the Mark Webber Challenge had revolved around spending more quality time with Andy, training and having fun. Instead I found myself training alone and feeling like I was carrying the burden of arranging the finer points of our adventure all by myself. I actually found myself in the days leading up to the race wishing I had never embarked on this adventure, I was unprepared and going to let down my best friend in the same way I felt he was letting me down. I had convinced myself that I was not going to do any more joint activities, I was not going to be let down or let anyone else down ever again.

It’s funny, sometimes you can’t see the wood for the trees, sometimes you get so caught up in your own idea of what the world is and what it means to you that you can easily forget that the people around you are also living their own life, having their own challenges, and fearing the same things as you. It takes just one action for that all to change; it can be an apology, a glimpse of the other person’s life, or an acknowledgement of what you’re feeling. I hid the way I was feeling from Andy but I’m sure he knew (great friends always do), that’s why we choose to be friends with the people we choose; they understand us, they love us, and see us for the person we are not just the flaws we present in the moment.

Looking back at the challenge I thought it was all about competing, stamina, skill and adventure (and of course it certainly was all of those things), but the real reason the Mark Webber Challenge was one of the most memorable experiences of my life was because of how our friendship grew through the experiences Andy and I shared.

So learn to acknowledge the negative times but live by the positive ones, embrace the people you choose to have in your life and those that choose you. Set yourself a goal and challenge yourself to overcome the adversities you create for yourself. The only person in your way is you. At the end of the day it’s the result of your actions that define the person you are and your impact on the world. Remember to respect yourself, the road and other commuters no matter how big or small, because at the end of the day we all want to get to our destination.

Smile and enjoy the ride, who knows who you’ll meet.

by Mr. Corb

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