Me: Just been knocked back by *** **** for sponsorship.
Me: They don’t sponsor single or one off projects and prefer to build a relationship with athletes and create project together. That’s fair enough, although I suspect that it might be that I am too old and don’t fit the profile.
J: Maybe you need to look at something more age appropriate; Nivea, Dove …. pause …. Tena Lady?
Me: Mmmm, hey, I could use the product and pee myself and save time on toilet stops.
J: Yeh, but it would be a bit of a problem if it freezes when you are in Antarctica.
At this point we are both laughing helplessly and our colleagues are wondering what on earth all the hilarity is about and wondering if they could have some of what we were on.
What are we on? Well, it is commonly referred to as ‘growing old disgracefully’ and absolutely fabulously’ and especially disgracefully in my case given the spitting, snot rockets and sweaty whiff when I am running.
I remember speaking to a friend’s sister who turned 50 the same year as me and she asked why did I want to run in the Antarctic. As ever my first response was; ‘because I can’, but I qualified it explaining that I wanted to mark the milestone birthday and raise a load of cash for charity. She then revealed that they (she is a twin) were also turning 50 and that their plan was to kick back and go for a spa day and go on a cruise. I couldn’t think of anything I would rather not do.
One thing for sure, and I have said this before, I am fitter and healthier than I have ever been and intend to remain so and intent to continue to challenge myself for as long as I can: age is no barrier.
My father, by the time he was my age was retired from the job he lived for and suffering from severe heart failure. He was dead by 59. Life is short and must be lived to the full.
Back to that sponsorship: it is beginning to feel a bit like Groundhog Day. Up to now I have been singularly unsuccessful in attracting sponsorship for my challenges. Two years ago as I got knock back after knock back it was somewhat depressing, but I remained undeterred and forged on. Looking back at it and from a more objective position of course no one was going to back me.
Who would back a 50 year old with no real ultra/extreme running experience? It really was not an attractive combination, especially for the corporate world.
I did it and have gone on to do more. I have not kicked back; I have continued to defy age associated assumptions and bucked the stereotype; and continued to enjoy watching my daughters’ faces and reactions when I tell them what’s coming next. Indeed I continue to be amused by reactions to my adventures. It encourages me, just as telling me I can’t do something is pretty much guaranteed to make me do it and succeed.
The thing that is so often overlooked is that my age is well suited to ultra-running. As we age we lose speed but we gain endurance and stamina; and I believe that our life experience and maturity give us the mental strength that is such an important element of ultra-running,
The sponsorship market is tough, and as someone put it; why would you expect sponsorship in return for raising a pitiful amount of money for charity. Save up and pay for it yourself. Mean? Harsh? Perhaps; everyone is entitled to their opinion.
I have saved up and I have worked all the hours I can to finance my challenges. But on the other hand, if you make a pitch that attracts a sponsor; why not? It is their choice.
My next big fabulous challenge is my Global Odyssey: 7 ultras, 7 continents, 7 days. Ambitious: yes. Doable: absolutely. Can I finance it myself? No. Will I be successful in attracting backers? I have absolutely no idea, but I am going to try because I have to. I have to do everything I can to try and realise my dream. I may fail and may not do my Global Odyssey, but at least I will be able hold my head high knowing I tried.
A colleague recently said there is someone out there it is just a case of finding them.
I have the credentials now and yes I may be a bit mad but I achieve.
I have a pitch, so, if there is a company or individual out there who wants to be part of a Global Odyssey and share the adventure let’s talk.
Oh, and in true Eddie style I will continue with my disgraceful penchant for buying and wearing ‘whacky breeks’: thinking these could be next on the shopping list.