I attended the Edinburgh Road Club annual dinner last week which I really enjoyed and, as well as good food and chat, we were treated to a presentation from Graeme Obree. Known as the ‘Flying Scotsman’, Graeme Obree broke the world hour record and had a sparkling career in cycling. Despite his huge success on the track however, Graeme has experienced significant mental health issues over the years and had a couple of suicide attempts.
Graeme spoke about his achievements and how he got to where we did which was very inspiring, but the thing that really struck a chord with me and really got me fired up, was his absolute determination that drove him and still does. He told himself that he would break the hour record, in his words he said, taking a drink, ‘as sure as lifting this glass to my mouth’ he would do it, and so he did. It made me think about how that attitude could be applied to all aspects of your life and not just in sport, and what determination I had used in the past.
I had a difficult schooling career and was written off as a slow learner before my adult life had even begun. I left school at 16 with nothing then, after years of remedial teaching and very hard work, completed my MSc at medical school at the age of 25. It was a similar determination and conviction that drove me to complete my education and show the world I could. I has something to prove to the world and nothing was going to prevent me for doing that. Now I want to turn that determination to other things and sports and cycling are right there at the top of my priorities.
There is a lesson in Graeme’s story for all of us about determination and how much you want to achieve something, not just in sport, in any area of our lives. I have not achieved in my career or some other ways, but am really hoping to make up for it in sport now and make up for lost time. I don’t have a list of sporting milestones or markers that I want to achieve, but have an overwhelming desire to be better and fitter than even I ever imagined I could be. Whenever I get there and whatever shape and form that takes will only be borne out in the futer, but I know I will, as sure as typing this blog post now.