The Guinness advert above made me realise that often in Life, when we think Big, we have to start really small. And build up slowly.


An Italian friend of the family came to me this weekend and said two things:
- Devi sempre combattere
- Non devi lavorare per i soldi.

Which translates into:
- You must always fight
- Don't work for money

He told me this on Saturday evening at the end of one tough week of everything, both physically and emotionally.

That morning I had cycled 140k's in an area south of Johannesburg, on a spectacularly flat road which links 1st and 3rd world areas with emaculate ease. Two riders had bailed during the ride: one due to stomach cramps; the other due to being slightly over cooked. Everyone else hung in, hoping not to blow for the longest ride of the year. It was in one of the long efforts that my mind cleared and became focused on the tarmac beneath me. One of the other riders broke away and headed off into the distance.

My ego surged, but my mind held back. It isn't time to go to the well, just yet. That time will come. February and March will be when the training really begins. This is just a right of passage to see if we'll be strong enough for the road ahead.

My friend's words, especially his words "devi sempre combattere" rang in my head for most of the marathon. The run was all about qualifying for the Two Oceans marathon, so no need to dig deep just yet.

"Not working for money" interestingly enough was discussed on the run. Alberto, my intrepid unstopppable brother, and I met Dean, a junior South African champion boxer. Dean ran with us for about 30k's and told us about his junior years as a boxer sparring with South African champions and fighting opening bouts at Madison Square Gardens. Throughout his career his greatest purse was R60,000.00 ($6,000). And his job was 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When he wasn't boxing, he was recovering. In the end, four years of this was more than he could take and he quit after 17 professional fights.

Interestingly enough one of his opponents, whom he beat regularly, was given a world title shot where the pay was R1m ($100k). I'm not sure what the moral is behind this, whether sticking at something no matter what they throw at you will result in untold fortunes, or whether you better have a good reason for sticking at something where there isn't any money. Whatever it is, there better be a good reason for you waking up every morning and going to hang out with people that you see more often than your family.

What do you expect to find at the end of the rainbow?

After the first marathon I ever ran in 2001 (4h13) I slept for four hours, and couldn't walk for 3 days. This time round my 3h53 was a piece of cake. Despite my legs taking a beating, my heart remained strong.

One week of rest and then we up it a few notches.

Devi sempre combattere,



  1. Love this Robby. see the rest of the world seems to get it. Work in order to live. We Americans are all a bunch of corporate whores-we'll do anything for money...I'm reminded of Andy Groves' motto-success leads to compliancy. Compliancy leads to failure. Only the paranoid will survive." Keep on trucking-I'm rooting for you!

  2. I love that quote Lilly Rose. There is a board next to my desk where I keep a note of the large deals I am working on. At the top of this board is where I add a monthly quote to stimulate my mind and those of the troops. Andy's quote makes the grade.
    As for work, life & money, someone once compared making money to energy expenditure. If you think of money in terms of energy spent/conserved, you get a better feel of the sacrifices you make in life and for the returns on those sacrifices.
    Thanks for my first ever comment! Now - how do I control the masses that will certainly follow? ;o)

  3. I'll add another layer to the burgeoning snowball that will become your avalanche of comments. Very apt with the heaviest snowfall in London for about 2 decades this AM..

    Robby man, hope the training's going well - looks like you guys are certainly picking it up for the big day. For me it's IMFR on 28/06, so 21 weeks to bring it all together.

  4. Houston! Training through that snow will only make you stronger. You need to keep asking yourself ala Peter Reid, what are your competitors doing? I'd recommend watching Rocky IV and consider doing lumberjack training and running up snowcovered mountains. Shouting the names of loved ones when you reach the summit is always recommended.

    Keep me posted with your training/races. It's always good to see how the English powerhouses do it.