Supporters – way more than just cheering you on…
This week I had the honour of briefly joining James Williams for part of his world record attempt – running from Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG). I ran with James for a period of the 4th day of his epic journey and was able to see close up the full magnitude of this challenge on a step by step basis. This was a seriously inspiring experience for me and one I will never forget, seeing someone pushing themselves to the absolute physical limit in aspiring to achieve their goals. I can only describe the determination and tenacity as being at levels which I’ve personally never seen before within a physical challenge. You’re a warrior in my eyes James.
Something else that I witnessed and was equally inspired by was the organisation, commitment and both physical and mental efforts of James’s support team. James has someone riding alongside him at all times, the team do shifts of 25 miles and throughout this they are constantly providing food, drinks, motivation, reassurance, kind words, hard words and general information around the route and performance. Further up the road there are 2 vans which are constantly being repositioned to provide James and the bikes with fuelling and rest and recovery stations. They are on hand to provide additional support if anything goes wrong and double up as a pretty awesome mobile crowd/camera van/office (it turns out there is a lot of admin involved in a word record attempt)!! When stationary these vans are generally hotspots for family and additional supporters, also providing some incredible encouragement along the route. The support team are pushing themselves incredibly hard. They are organised impeccably – if they get something wrong it could jeopardise the attempt, so they are under huge pressure to get it right. They are doing some really, really hard yards behind the scenes – while it’s not extreme endurance running the guys are putting in some serious mileage on the bikes and operating on very little sleep. They have to keep their energy levels up to keep James motivated, fed, watered and happy (within the circumstances!) which involves constant movement, concentration and effort. Working tirelessly behind the scenes to support James, his support team deserve serious recognition for their role within this attempt.
James is an inspiration to me and I hope to you. But so are the support team.
Tuesday was a reminder that behind every front man there’s a band. And without that band they’d be a pretty average solo artist.