My boy Nick. I expect there will be a few posts about him on this blog as time goes by. I may never seem to have spare time, but his life makes mine seem like a rest cure.
Recently there was a piece in the Standard (follow the link) which tells you much of what you need to know. The story contains a photo of three people so, for the avoidance of all doubt, Nick is the indescribably good looking one who looks uncannily like me. The resemblance may end there, but you can see he’s not the milkman’s.
When I listen to radio programmes, or read interviews, with people who decided relatively early to follow an apparently crazy and unrealistic life path and found success against all advice, especially that of their fathers, I feel a twinge which says “Don’t worry – Nick will make it, he knows his own mind, trust his instincts, don’t panic, keep the faith, etc, etc”. So I try to put aside the thought that he was on the way to a solid City career with a firm that fitted him like a glove, and rely on the (much bigger) thought that there are adventures to be had, dreams to be dreamed, worlds to be conquered.
And you only get one life.
For the year up till last May this wayward son of mine held down his day job while living and breathing the first Uganda International Marathon, which duly happened and was a great success. Followers of this blog may remember that I combined it with a short safari. Knowing that meeting gorillas was no 1 on my bucket list, Nick used that as the hook to get us out there in support.
Race day was a riot – British organisation meeting the African variety not quite head on – but a good time was had all round, especially the young locals competing for a prized iPhone.
Prince David of the Buganda tribe completed the half marathon and became the subject of a thousand selfies, almost eclipsing the winner of the full marathon who powered home at about the same time. And my lovely partner won great distinction by being the first international competitor to cross the line in the 10Km race, brandishing a Brazil flag which caused a sensation and led to many photo demands.
It was Nick’s day though – and for the many young people who went out from here for the whole experience, including extended volunteering opportunities, it was either literally, or close to, life changing.
There are far worse things to do with your life, and for Nick this generated a drive towards an extended marathon series. Impact Marathon is the brainchild, and is now Nick’s main focus. HIs developing thoughts find their way into his blog, which tells you more than I can. Your support – moral and otherwise – will be more than welcome, plus the occasional introduction if appropriate.
As I write he is in Kathmandu, meeting Ministers and others and exploring opportunities for mounting an international marathon there: billed as an exercise in post-disaster development, it’s presently pencilled in for September next year. Or, for all I know, it’s inked in by now. He moves faster than me.
Despite all my apprehensions – in truth I’m pretty risk-averse – his enterprises are always inventive, ambitious, reckless and throughly worthwhile. I couldn’t be more proud. So I repeat here some words he’s heard me say a few times. I wish I had written them, but in fact they are by the great Walt Whitman, of whom also you will hear more if you continue to read my stuff.
Away O Soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers – haul out – shake out every sail!
Sail forth – steer for the deep waters only.
Reckless O Soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me,
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.
O my brave Soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!