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  • Writer's pictureDarryl Buckle

From Under The Bridge

Last Sunday in Toronto I went to a public showing of an independent film called Where Dreams Go to Die about the Barkley Marathons.

If you have never heard of the Barkley Marathons, and you have a 89 minutes to spare, search “The Race That Eats It’s Young” on Netflix – and, you’re welcome.

Where Dreams Go To Die is about Gary Robbins’ two failed attempts (2016 and 2017) at completing all five loops of the the 130 mile race, through scrub brush, with over 60,000 feet of elevation gain, within the 60 hour cut off time.

His most spectacular failure was this year when he got lost after the last checkpoint and ended up crossing the finish line in 60 hours – and six seconds.

The highlight last Sunday (other than sitting in a dark theatre filled with some of the toughest people you’ll ever meet and listening to a chorus of snorts and sniffles) was that the star of the movie, Canadian Ultra-Runner Gary Robbins, and the filmmaker Ethan Newberry were both in attendance.

So we’re clear: the story is about failure.

But it was still amazing when some kid during the question and answer period asked, “how do you respond to people who say you’re never going to do it, that you’re never going to finish?”

Good question.

How do you respond to people who say you don’t belong.

that you haven’t earned it yet.

that you don’t have what it takes.

Both Ethan and Gary shared some of the comments and tweets and such that they’ve heard since the race…

I couldn’t believe it! A guy who can run 130 miles through scrub brush, climb more than the height of Everest from sea level – twice – in 60 hours and six seconds through snow and rain gets chirped from people sitting in coffee shops on their computers?

Do you know what he said?

“You have to decide for yourself what story you’re going to believe and what you’re going to do”.

And then he said, “ignore it”. They both said, “Ignore it”

That jumped out at me cause that’s what Solomon said, in Ecclesiastes 7 –

“Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you”

It’s a disney classic – Somewhere out there, beneath the pale flickering light of a truckstop bathroom, someone is carving your name into the wall of the stall, “You suck”

Every once in a while people like that crawl out from under the bridge and you’ll hear what they have to say.  

Best thing you can do?  Change the 7 to an 8 on the bathroom stall so people quit calling you about it, and get back to whatever race you’re running.

Ignore it.

I wonder if the guys who said that stuff about Canadian Ultra Running Legend Gary Robbins knew that he’d hear their comments.

Maybe they’d never thought, or never intended for him to hear them.  Maybe they did.

Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you for you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others.  Ecclesiastes 7:21-22

As I’m writing this I’m thinking about all the times I’ve been less than kind with my words – less than charitable with my thoughts towards others.

I’m just glad no one’s ever said bad things about me.


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