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I did my first running race, the 3.5 mile Chase Corporate Challenge, just 3 years ago. My time was pathetic and I was very much overweight at the time. But I did it. And that became my definition of possible back then. And today, only 3 short years later, my definition of possible has jumped off the charts having completed all kinds of athletic challenges that I wouldn’t have even dreamed were possible several years ago. And as much blood, sweat, and tears as I’ve invested in this journey, one can’t achieve without the support of other people. So I’ve been reminded more and more lately of how extraordinary the people in my life are. Not only my wife and kids – who are incredible, kind, inspiring, and just plain fun to be around – but also my friends and acquaintances. My extended family. Y’all have greatly elevated my baseline of what’s “normal” and what’s possible.

My extended family now includes people who race triple Ironman triathlons. Routinely. Folks who see 50 and 100 mile trail running races as “normal.” People who dream up and write books. Folks who swim entire lakes and water systems. Single parent families who persevere in the face of terrible life circumstances. People who’ve run across the United States. These are resilient people. Extraordinary people. Truly inspirational people. And because of this, my own baseline for “what’s possible” has simply exploded with possibility.

Why is this important? Because sport is, in many profound ways, a reflection of life. A metaphor. Because if I can run 50k+ of rugged trail, self-supported? What else can’t I do? I don’t need to be as anxious about life as I used to be, because I know what I’m made of. Sure, life will keep throwing curve balls (and Lord knows that’s been happening), but I know that doesn’t have to stop me in my tracks. I know that I’m capable of anything. All of us are. Not just me. All of us. That means you too.

So, keep good company. If you don’t have people in your life who inspire you than get some. Motivation has to come from within, but inspiration can come from those around us. Get inspired, and then – when you’re ready – inspire others. What do you wish you were capable of? Guess what; you’re already capable of it, but you can’t get there without taking a step. So get going.

Image: Copyright Ben Murphy, 2013. Trail Running with the TrailsROC crew last winter. 6am, single-digit temps, 8+ mile snow/trail run, Crescent Trail (Woodcliff Overlook). These are the extraordinary people whose company I keep.


  1. Just looking at this – that was a cold morning!!!!

    • Yeah, it was, wasn’t it? I think it was sub-zero windchills that morning if I’m not mistaken…

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