The 5km Corporate Challenge

*warning contains gross images of sweaty humans*

A few months back a poster went up on the staff notice board. I was still new and trying not to appear as a weird foreigner who has a cackle for a laugh. But I thought this was a great idea and after asking a few questions soon realised it was quite a big thing.

I immediately signed up to take part in a 5km Corporate challenge event and bullied encouraged other people into doing it. I don’t condone bullying in anyway, but I do condone signing people up for a sports event that they don’t want to do.

Time passed by, I carried on consuming the $5 pizzas from Dominos and Pizza Hut without a care in the world. Then, one day, a t shirt got put in front of me with the words Corporate Challenge written on it. The look of fear that struck upon my face must have been a picture. I had done absolutely no training. I’d completely forgotten about it. To my relief almost everybody was in the same boat, and I convinced myself that it was all about winning and getting the best time taking part.

(Me being Mr Commodore. Like an F1 driver on the podium, right?)

The day started off raining, windy, cold and honestly, I was dreading it. I was coming up with every excuse under the sun as to why I shouldn’t run. The most favourable was surely certain death from doing no training. But then the sun came out and my mentality switched in a heart beat to that of pure determination.

(I’m aware that this was only 5km, but baby steps and all that. I haven’t ran properly for years)

This race turned out to be the single best thing that has happened to me in 2017. Not getting the opportunity to fly to New Zealand. Not viewing some of the amazing places or meeting some of the most incredible people. It was a 5km race.

I’ve always been super competitive. Ask my Aunt about how stressed I got when I was losing to her at tennis. Or the people I used to compete against on the athletics track or during swimming. I owe half of this spirit to my parents, for making me always believe I should strive to be the best, and the other half to my old swimming coach, Mike, who pushed me further out of my comfort zone than anyone ever had before and for that, looking back, I will be eternally grateful.

What ensued was the weirdest warm up I’d ever done with 1300 people and a drone flying overhead, lead by some NZ Army Guy. I honestly felt like I was filming for an episode of Celebrity Fat Club. As we headed to the start line I got all these butterflies within me, a feeling that I hadn’t had for a considerable amount of time. I soon remembered how positively addictive sport is.

We set off and I got into the rhythm of the next 20 odd minutes. A few highlights from the run; nearly getting run over by a car that didn’t stop to let me across the road that I slapped and got shouted at by a steward; passing Alice, my friend here in New Zealand, which made me feel amazing terrible because she’s just ran in the 10km event at Queenstown and did plenty of training for. Oh and the pizza and beers that we all enjoyed post race. Everyone did amazingly and were in such high spirits at the end. It’s the first time I’ve been part of a team at a sports event for the best part of 8 years and I can honestly say I enjoyed every second. I was very thankful for the opportunity.

I ran it in 24:44 which I am so proud of. I surpassed my goal of not passing out before the finish line, so I’m happy. I came 5th out of the Commodore crew which I’m super stoked about isn’t important. It’s the taking part that counts.

You can check me out running across the finish line here (I’m the guy sprinting in a cap around 10:30)

Since the run 10 days ago, I’ve managed a pretty bad ankle injury, which is still with me, and played tennis a few times since. It’s slightly halted my ability to continue a trend of getting back into sports. I’ve never been short of some fire in my belly and good old fashioned grit and determination, but taking part in this event has well and truly added fuel to the fire and reminded me that goal setting is an important part of living a life full of achievement.

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