• Michael Stones

My 100 Miles Challenge






Challenges are great opportunities to learn something new about yourself. It can be a time to

push your limits and most importantly to have fun.


They can be however big or small as you like.


Whether it’s trying meditation every morning, learning a language or starting a new career, I

have always loved completing challenges. Every challenge completed has helped me to

believe in myself a little more and to think more often in my life that “I can do this”. This is

something that took this little shy kid around the world and accomplished things I never

thought I could. For me, when starting a challenge I feel all you need is three things - a why,

a way and will. This is the beautiful simplicity of challenges and life when you break it down.

Joining Start It Right in June 2021 gave me a fantastic opportunity to have fun, help and

inspire young people. My role as a Youth Ambassador means being a positive role model for

young people and in order to do so, I wanted to start BIG. Across August I ran 100 miles to

raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity that provides life changing care for

young people with cancer.


For me, this wasn’t just a physical challenge, it was also a mental and charitable one too. I

was attempting to raise £300 alongside thousands of other people doing the challenge as

well. The objective was doing something for a good cause (my ‘why’) and showing the young

people at Start It Right that you can put your mind into whatever you would like to achieve,

however big or small.


Of course the challenge began with optimism, as it threw some flavour in the pan of the day

to day. Each week I had a goal of 25 miles to reach in order to hit the 100 mark at the end of

the month (my ‘way’). This for most competitive runners is actually quite a modest goal, who

average easily 25-30 miles. When I was at university I could easily hit 30, 40 and a few

times 50 miles in a week when competing at a high level. But this was to be the first

challenge in a long time where I had more responsibilities than a degree and part-time job.


When doing this challenge, my time was also dedicated to a relationship, raising a

demanding German Shepherd puppy, being busier than ever working in mental health,

completing an accredited counselling course along with also doing some therapy to help

resolve some things in my own life, and also helping out once a week at Start It Right. So it's

safe to say I had my hands filled while completing this challenge as well.


The first week was tough but fueled with excitement. I hadn’t run in over eight months or

exercised for that matter so the fitness was not there. My legs in the first week would feel

rough after two miles and ache a lot the next day when I would have to get up and put

myself through it again. However, my ‘why’ carried me through and was able to hit that 25

miles.


The second week I found it tougher. My body was not used to the intense exercise I was

putting it through. I was pretty fatigued already for the next 25 miles and my average mile

time slowed from 8 minutes to 8.30 minutes. The initial optimism slowed too as the tiredness

and constant muscle ache set in which made my day job also a bit more difficult. But my ‘will’

to keep on going got me to that glorious half way mark that is always revitalising in life, to

know you are over the big part.


The third week, I actually started getting into my stride more. My body began adjusting to its

new regime and I became more regimented. I had become accustomed to the 5 or 6 runs I

had to complete each week ranging from 4 to 5 miles in order to meet the target. The final

week was carried by adrenaline, as it was my last chance at completing the 100 miles and

so it allowed me to forget about the aches and pains. I used this thought to carry me

through, finishing my last run and hitting the sweet 100 mile mark.


Achieving 100 miles in a month was a great feeling and I am proud. However, the reason I

set out to complete this challenge was not to impress anyone or have a sense of

accomplishment. It was to hopefully inspire the young people at Start It Right that no matter

where you are in life or what you are going through, if you want to do something epic, don’t

be put off. You just need a why, a will and a way and that's the half of it.The other half is

going out and actually doing it. You can start small and build it up from there. The biggest

buildings in the world started with nothing, no more than a little bit of concrete and some

bricks.


And yet look how high they soar.

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