Sunday, January 2, 2011

The King Of Pain by Mark Anderson

Rating: ****

This article is about Ray Zahab, Canada's top Ultra Racer. It shows that to be a top Ultra Racer its 10% physical and 90% mental. It proves, that no matter what you are going through, how much pain you are feeling, that if you think you can do it, then you can.

When he was a teen he started some bad habits of drinking and smoking (a pack a day) and his grades faltered. He couldn't go to university and ended up training horses. He didn't have enough money to get by at 30 years of age, life sucked. That is when he decided to make a change. He quit smoking, became a personal fitness expert, got back in touch with his family and started mountain biking with his brother. He won some events but didn't like the feel of biking so he switched to ultra running. Three months later, still with no real Ultra Race experience, he took on the 160 km race called the Yukon Arctic Ultra and dominated by finishing 4 hours before the next competitor just by sheer determination and pushing through the pain. Throughout this time period, he won many other Ultra races. Now he is known throughout the racing community around the world.
One of his biggest accomplishments wasn't a actual race. It was an expedition of 7500 km across the Sahara Desert, starting in Senegal and finishing at the Red Sea. He accomplished this with 2 other famous Ultra Runners, the American Charlie Engle, and Kevin Lin from Taiwan. They did 77 km per day for 111 days (straight!). At that point, they had to increase there pace to 100 km per day and for their finale push, they did 300 km in a 60 hours in an all out push! The enormity of this feat sent shock waves throughout the world and as a feat of equal comparison you would have to climb Mount Everest x15! This newfound fame earned him and his companions instant fame with an appearance with Jay Leno, a documentary of the expedition (narrated by Matt Damon) and as an added bonus his films of personal fitness really took off in sales. For a man who previously had trouble getting by, he now had "money in the bank".
With this new found fame and fortune he openly supports the charity "Spread the Net" and now for each race he raises money for that cause which stops family's in Africa from getting malaria.

I suggest that everyone who has spare time on there hands should read this, if for nothing more than inspiration from his personal triumph. This blog makes me want to become an Ultra Runner, and shows me that no matter how much of a hole you might have dug for yourself, that if you believe you can overcome your failures than you can.

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