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March 4, 2016

“This sport is about improving, not winning. You never learn from victory.” – Kilian Jornet

Parsha (Torah Portion) flowerVayakhel in a nutshell from 

Moses assembles the people of Israel and reiterates to them the commandment to observe the Shabbat. He then conveys G‑d’s instructions regarding the making of the Mishkan (Tabernacle). The people donate the required materials in abundance, bringing gold, silver and copper; blue-, purple- and red-dyed wool; goat hair, spun linen, animal skins, wood, olive oil, herbs and precious stones. Moses has to tell them to stop giving.

A team of wise-hearted artisans make the Mishkan and its furnishings (as detailed in the previous Torah readings of Terumah, Tetzaveh and Ki Tisa): three layers of roof coverings; 48 gold-plated wall panels, and 100 silver foundation sockets; the parochet (veil) that separates between the Sanctuary’s two chambers, and the masach (screen) that fronts it; the ark, and its cover with the cherubim; the table and its showbread; the seven-branched menorah with its specially prepared oil; the golden altar and the incense burned on it; the anointing oil; the outdoor altar for burnt offerings and all its implements; the hangings, posts and foundation sockets for the courtyard; and the basin and its pedestal, made out of copper mirrors.

Last week I noticed a billboard for a course “The Jewish Course of Why?” In light of having entered the Great Ocean Road Ultra-Marathon, I was thinking why do we enter events/ races etc.

In Rabbi Channan’s weekly Shiur he brings down many lessons from this week’s Parsha that are pertinent to this decision to do an event. These included:

  • Being prepared to try doing something and doing the best we can, and he explained that it is good to try wear Tzitzit even though you may eat in an un-Kosher place
  • Not being afraid to fail;
  • Put all our effort / “Koach” (Strength) into what we do; and
  • Paying attention to others.

So why do we enter, events are expensive to enter, they often involve travel, there is lots of time wasting before and after and often people think they may over-push themselves and get injured.

One of the reasons I try do a blog is in effect ‘force’ me to learn something new and read the weekly Parsha and commentary. There must be things we can learn from entering events?

My mate Aubrey, said he entered Run for the kids as it is a great event and 1/3 of entry goes to charity. Charity is definitely a reason.

Possibly like in the case of Run for the kids and Around the Bay a reason is to experience something that is normally inaccessible like crossing the Bolte Bridge or Westgate Bridge which are normally closed to runners/ cyclists.

There are the other standard reasons like to set goal, aim for a target time or to motivate you to train and exercise.

In long distance runner and skiers Kilian Jornet’s book, “Run or Die” he talks about how much he loves to compete and how he searched for events to do. He describes the feeling he gets from doing races and compares it to a drug!

I love to compete, and competing is about winning, the high you feel hitting the tape. Turning that final bend and seeing it at the end of the final straight.” – Kilian Jornet

“Why am I so hooked on competing? I don’t know why, and I don’t know if there is one reason. I could say that I want to feel my endorphins activating when I get tired, that I long to re-experience the excitement of winning a race or seeing magnificent landscapes.” – Killian Jornet

Kilian makes a number of other quotes:

“Winning isn’t about finishing in first place. It isn’t about beating the others. It is about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears,” Jornet writes.

“Isn’t this a part of why we run?” he continues. “To find out whether we can overcome our fears, that the tape we smash when we cross the line isn’t only the one the volunteers are holding, but also the one we have set in our minds? Isn’t victory being able to push our bodies and minds to their limits and, in doing so, discovering that they have led us to find ourselves anew and to create new dreams?”

In a recent Podcast with Craig Percival who is attempting 8 ironman’s in 8 days in 8 states to raise charity for The John Maclean foundation (this is an amazing charity – help Craig to try raise $80,000 to buy and set up 8 kids with wheelchairs – See  ). Craig was asked if he does events to win or for the feelings. Craig said for the feeling and atmosphere. He even gets emotional thinking about seeing his family on the course. But he also competes to test his limits, to do what others have not done:

“I’ve always been fascinated by what people can achieve when they set their minds to it.  That’s why I created (my business) No Limits Endurance – to assist and guide people in breaking through barriers, believing in themselves and doing things that they can look back on with enormous pride.” – Craig Percival

Skier Lindsay Vonn, recently injured her knee and has pulled out of further events this season to recover, but she competes to prove that she is the best and this drive to compete motivates her to train and overcome injury.

Frustration and setbacks only fuel my fire. If you think I’m going to slow down, your wrong!…” – Skier Lindsay Vonn

One of the reasons I compete is to get out and see the amount of people that get out there to compete, people of all shapes and sizes, people with disabilities – People like John Maclean who has walked after being wheel chair bound for so long, Champion Kurt Furnley and South African athlete Pieter “SuperPiet” Du Preez[1] who was just nominated for the Laureus Awards.

So what ever your reason is – Get out and do a sporting event. To end a great quote.

A flower does not compete with the flower next to it, it just blooms” – Zen Shin

[1] C6 Quad-WChair Racer-Handcyclist (WorldChampion)-Triathlete-Paralympian-World 1st quad 2 do IM70.3&IronMan-Deloitte Actuarial Analyst-42.2k WR Im coming…


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One Comment
  1. Mom permalink

    Very meaningful & true. Pity some people lack that motivation! Excellent quotes.

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