Latest Event Updates

Training Schedule: Week 3

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Training Schedule for the Marine Corps Marathon to be held in Washington DC on 30 October supporting The Mission Continues:

Day Date Load
Day 14 Monday, 19 September 2016 8 km
Day 15 Tuesday, 20 September 2016 8 x 400 m, then 4 x 800 m, then 2 x 1600 m
Day 16 Wednesday, 21 September 2016 8 km
Day 17 Thursday, 22 September 2016 7 km running for speed
Day 18 Friday, 23 September 2016 Rest
Day 19 Saturday, 24 September 2016 30 km
Day 20 Sunday, 25 September 2016 Rest

Training Schedule- Week 2

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Week 2 of the lead-in training schedule ahead of the Marine Corps Marathon to be held in Washington D.C. on 30 October supporting The Mission Continues.

Day Date Load
Day 7 Monday, 12 September 2016 8 km
Day 8 Tuesday, 13 September 2016 6 x 200 m,
then 3 x 400 m,
then 3 x 800 m
Day 9 Wednesday, 14 September 2016 8 km
Day 10 Thursday, 15 September 2016 5 x 1000 m,
then 3 x 400 m,
then 6 x 200 m
Day 11 Friday, 16 September 2016 Rest
Day 12 Saturday, 17 September 2016 27 km
Day 13 Sunday, 18 September 2016 Rest

And How About Today?

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ruok-skywritingRUOK Day has come and gone. Let’s all get back to watching the rugby…

I know, I know. This is not a binary choice either way. It is good to be critical, and it is also good to try. You never know the consequence of your actions.

This post is about RUOK Day- it was earlier this week, and you can read my post that I posted then here.

The point is that all too often ‘raising awareness’ ends once the enthusiasm from the celebrity laced event concludes. It becomes namedropping collateral, humblebrag for another time. Or is it?

Yes, I jest. Sort of. My point is though that if we care, then we should do more than just be satisfied with a minimalist approach to slacktivism.

This blog is about improving child survival. My earlier post was about improving mental health among veterans. Where is the connection?

This is what is on my mind: too often there is great enthusiasm to talk about an initiative, especially among politicians. After the press brief, it is back to business as usual. Not for those who are in the thick of it. Not for veterans struggling. And importantly not in the remote villages where child mortality is an unwanted blight.

No, while these things still prevail, I am not ok. And neither should you be.

Update on Design Forum

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imageThe principle reason for conducting the 10 City Bridge Run was to shape a conversation to improve the delivery of child survival with a locus at a Design Forum, or series of Design Forums.

In many respects, this is an absurd goal. What part of arrogance, hubris or just plain stupidity leads me to think that an initiative began from an idea about running could actually make a difference?

From an alternate perspective, is it also worth asking whether we are content to live inconsequential lives obscured by the dull light of mediocrity? There is nothing wrong with ordinary, after all it is the canvas upon which the extraordinary is painted.

I believe that it is worth going for game changing goals that show some glimmer of making a significant difference for good, even if how that might be achieved is not readily apparent.

Perhaps my biggest mistake to date has been trying to rush things. I should have been more patient with what I seeking to achieve, and to be more focused on a single objective rather than trying to boil the ocean in a single afternoon. While I might receive extra points for effort, the results have been unimpressive.

It was good to visit the Dongdaemun Design Plaza before I left Seoul, and confirm that I would be able to conduct a gathering on 24 October to launch the book Beyond The Backswing and point to the execution of the Design Forum that are yet to occur. On 24 October, the event will be informal, and best to include people who are already in Seoul. I wouldn’t advise people to fly in to Seoul for the event, but it will be possible to open participation through online streaming somehow.

It would be an informal gathering to look ahead to a time in 2017 when a more deliberately planned Design Forum might be held in Seoul and possibly other locations as well.

The advantage of turning my attention to the needs of improved mental health among veterans is that it helps to frame what works with an issue that I am familiar with, before tackling with more vigour a large and more complex issue of child survival. The other point to note is that this needs to be approached with a view to achieving collective action which is more about the group than the individual.

There is a date to prepare for, and in the meantime the book Life Bridge can begin to be assembled. It is slow movement forward, but a necessary pace. As always, I’m looking for good ideas and guidance as to how to do this better. If you have any thoughts, please let me know.

RUOK?

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img_7611Well, are you?

RUOK? A campaign which began in 2009 as an initiative of an Australian whose father was lost to suicide. The rationale is that many more people consider or attempt suicide that actually are successful, and that by having one day a year to ask this question it might raise awareness to help those who are struggling.

In some respects, RUOK? and the 22 Push-up Challenge are examples of “slacktivism”. An intervention which requires the bare minimum of effort. The collective effort is seen as the benefit of this intervention.

Many people ask whether this is of any value. It is a fair question.

Consider this: if someone is really struggling and you ask them “RUOK?” can you really expect for them to give you an honest answer. Our default towards avoiding pain and shame is that we will mostly brush off the question with a polite smile, and possibly even the even result in a stinging sense of alienation because the question seems to be so superficial.

So what is the alternative? Is it better not to ask?

Derek Weida is an American Iraq War veteran whose leg was amputated as a result of injuries while sustain on duty. He is is skilfully provocative with his posts on Facebook. Far from just seeking attention, I really believe he cares about what he talks about. Recently, he gave a lot of focus to ranting about the 22 Push Up Challenge. His view that people we far too obsessed with the number 22. Rather than being focused on strengths, it pushed us into a culture of victimhood. You can read more about this and see his video on this post at Task And Purpose.

Similarly, is RUOK? pointing to the hole which someone might be silently suffering in, rather than constructively building a way out? We could discuss this all day and not come to an unified response.

What do you think? Much like the 22 Push-Up Challenge, I believe that the RUOK? initiative is good, but it can’t stop there. There must be some action orientated activity following the question, often involving taking time to listen to another person.

Part of the reason I have been asking people to join me vicariously in the training for the marathon by adding “+10” to my daily post is that it gives a sense of the daily attention we need to bring to helping those who might need our support. It takes effort.

This current training and marathon is associated with raising awareness for the need to improve mental health among veterans. It is real, not just some social experiment.

I believe that the learnings from this will help in our understanding of what makes a difference in other areas too. I am doing this now because I care about the health of veterans, partly because I am a veteran myself. I also know that the benefits we realise from working out what works will help in this overarching pursuit that seeks to improve child survival.

Enough of the big ideas. I just want to finish by asking one question. Yes, I’m asking you. RUOK?

Blithesome Our Hearts Are

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img_7155Tomorrow I begin the journey back to Australia. It has been a long time away, and a productive trip. There is a lot more I could write about this recent time away, but will save it for now. Here, I want to mention briefly a reunion I am attending for my high school in Melbourne.

I’m looking forward to attending, although must admit to being a little avoidant earlier on. I am not a big fan of reunions like these most of the time. I don’t have a nostalgic view of school, and if I am honest will say that there were many things about school that I didn’t enjoy or didn’t capitalise on being of my naivety at that time. But that is just how it is.

I am looking forward to hearing what people have been doing. Another reason I am interested in the gathering is that it marks a milestone of sorts for me. The 9 City Bridge Run, from which the 10 City Bridge Run emerged, had its genesis because of a two informal dinners I attended with two school mates (the same guys both times). At these dinners, we learnt through sharing news of the sad deaths through suicide of some of our school colleagues. That was a beginning point that would subsequently end up as the 10 City Bridge Run.

I am in the last stages of completing the draft manuscript for the book Beyond The Backswing which details in part the journey undertaken through the 10 City Bridge Run. I hope to celebrate the fact that it is completed with my mates from school on Friday night, knowing that without those conversations with my school mates that this initiative might never have begun.

Strong like its pillars, the school stands behind us…

 

Lost Focus?

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United NationsThis blog was established in 2010 as part of this initiative called the 10 City Bridge Run to ask how we might use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival.

Some of you might have noticed that I am now talking about the need to improve the mental wellbeing among veterans, more than issues relating to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

What is this about? Have I lost focus? Is this a sign of me being temperamental? The answer to both of those last two questions is a definite ‘no’.

The 10 City Bridge Run remains squarely focused on child survival. I have realised over the past years (yes, years…how ridiculous is that. I never thought this would consume so much of my time, but at the same time I have no complaint. It is worth my time and energy) that engaging with the institutions and issues surrounding child survival involves more than just throwing a couple of information nights with a little bit of ‘design thinking’ thrown in and reading  couple of books by rock star authors.

In order to engage in this process of change, I had to develop my ability to better understand collaboration and social impact. It is one thing to have an opinion about these things that you can crow about over a latte with friends, but it is another matter entirely to put it into practice.

Part of the decision to embrace the Marine Corps Marathon under the umbrella of the citizen-led initiative which I have called the 10 City Bridge Run is to help me to improve my ability to be useful in these areas.

Additionally, it has also taken me back to the roots from where the 10 City Bridge Run began which was an initiative aimed at addressing suicide and depression.

I am learning more, and consequently becoming more effective at helping to stimulate game changing impact.

I would be interested in your thoughts. Tell me if you are satisfied with this apparent detour, or whether you think it is an unnecessary distraction. Either way, I hope you will continue to follow me and challenge me with your comments and questions which itself is a much needed form of support.

The video below talks about my motivation to get involved:

Thanks…You Inspire Me!

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IMG_4100Those who have been following might know that I am training for the Marine Corps Marathon to occur on 30 October in Washington D.C.

I find the discipline of following a training schedule difficult at times, and made easier if I can link it to another routine. In this case, it is a 10 minute stretch and abdominal routine to keep me limber for running.

I am asking for you help, in fact it is an invitation to join with me vicariously as I prepare for the marathon. Will you join with me every day through until 30 October for your own 10 minutes of some physical activity that is good for your own wellbeing? It could be meditation, walking the block, or dancing in the lounge room. If I know you are with me, it gives me more motivation to stick to the schedule.

More than this, it is an expression of community, and together with regular physical activity, these are both things that are good for improving mental health.

Please watch the video I made the other day for more details below. I hope I can count on your participation.

Thanks to those who have stepped up already and let me know with a “+10” on my posts. You inspire me! Thank you!

Training Schedule – Week 1

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In preparing for the Marine Corps Marathon on 30 October 2016, here is my training schedule:

Day Date Load
Day 1 Tuesday 6 September 2016 4 x 1600 m
Day 2 Wednesday, 7 September 2016 24 km
Day 3 Thursday, 8 September 2016 8 km
Day 4 Friday, 9 September 2016 Rest
Day 5 Saturday, 10 September 2016 9 km
Day 6 Sunday, 11 September 2016 Rest

WDYDWYD? An Update: Part 4

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img_3111My good friend Ledy asked a fair question: “what exactly is the linkage between what and why you do what you do?”

It is a good question and deserves an answer.

In this case, I think a simple answer is best, and I draw inspiration from one of my heroes and a guiding light for the 10 City Bridge Run who frames one of the key chapters in the document features on the landing page for the 10 City Bridge Run website.

Jim Yong Kim is presently the President of the World Bank, and a thoroughly impressive individual. I have never met him in person, but I have consumed much of what he has written and spoken.

In one of his addresses at Georgetown University he describes the underpinning of the organisation which he co-founded called Partners In Health as having a preferential option for the poor.

It is a simple statement, but I think it best captures an answer which satisfies Ledy’s question.

This is the linkage between what I do and why I do it: to have a preferential option for the poor.