At the end of 2018, Mehdi, an Astek employee and passionate about running, took on a challenge to give meaning to his sporting commitment: to complete 12 marathons in one year.
After having carried out the marathons of Marseille, Nantes, Copenhagen, Tours…. this challenge is amply successful since the 12 marathons have been completed! Mehdi talks about his success for us.
Did you encounter any difficulties during your challenge?
Yes of course. The biggest difficulty was the sequence of marathons without any real adapted physical preparation. The association was Rennaise, I wanted to complete the adventure with the green marathon. It was a nice symbolic but I had to pick up the pace to get there.
In seven weeks, I completed six marathons. I quickly realized how difficult it was to keep up the pace, probably from lack of training and the accumulated fatigue.
Of course, I was mentally prepared to realize and succeed in this challenge. I knew it was going to be tough but I realized throughout this challenge that I was slightly missing training. And then, prepared or not, there are always surprises with marathons. I particularly felt it during my last tests. I had a little worse lap times and was losing almost 15 minutes on the scratch from one race to the next.
Even though I wasn’t specifically aiming for performance or the personal best in the marathons this year, these results motivate me to improve for the next ones.
At some point, did you think about quitting?
I never wanted to stop. The idea never even crossed my mind. Of course, I had some slack. Sometimes during the races I didn’t have the strength to run anymore, I happened to walk, for several minutes I didn’t have the strength to run. But stop, never!
When I lost a little of my motivation during a marathon, I focused on my commitments, on this cause that is close to my heart. I continued to fight, mirroring these children who fight every day.
What helped you carry on?
Several factors allowed me to hold on and succeed in my challenge.
First of all, my friends. Indeed, being a regular runner, I have surrounded myself with people who share my passion and who have become real friends for me. They were a real moral support, before, during and after each marathon. Some ran with me, others checked in regularly.
My source of moral motivation, which has helped me the most, are the children and the HAROZ association I was running for. I made a lot of visits to different hospitals to meet these children. At each of my visits I discovered smiling children, filled with happiness and joy despite their illness. Faced with this strength to win, how can I complain or give up? I thought of them and ran harder.
How do you feel now?
I have a pretty mixed feeling. On one hand, I am very proud to have been at the end of my challenge, to have completed my 12 marathons in one year. I am also delighted to have come out without injury. I am happy to have been able to make people talk about HAROZ, to have made known this association which is close to my heart and to have contributed my stone to the edifice.
On the other hand, I wish I had been better physically and most importantly, I wish there had been more financial commitment in the pot.
A future challenge?
As long as my legs carry me I will continue to run for the associations that are close to my heart. A very big challenge, which would almost make this year pass for a Sunday stroll, is planned for 2020, in Costa Rica… So the sequel to the next episode.