Challenge list challenge: make your own

Racing the Planet: Iceland 2013

Have you done an adventure run in Iceland? Me neither. Yet.

If you spend any time fooling around with Facebook, you’ve probably seen the so-called challenge lists:

“How many of these books have you read?”

“How many of these countries have you visited?”

“How many of these beers have you tried?”

Pick a topic, and there’s probably some list.

But instead of checking items off of someone else’s challenge list, why not make your own? Do you have a bucket list, or life list, or 100-things-I’ve-gotta-see list — or anything like that?

I do. When I was five, there was only one thing on it: climb Mt. Everest. It took me until I was 52 to check that one off. You can see my much longer adult list in my book, at the start of Chapter 2. Once I checked the last box on that one — completing the run across America — I confess I didn’t quite know what was next. Would I stop running? I knew I’d never attempt that kind of distance again, and I was determined to slow down a bit, to savor each experience in a way that I hadn’t done before. But what the hell was I supposed to DO?

If you haven’t made a personal challenge list, it may be because you’re feeling the same way. What would I put on it? Here’s what you do: pick anywhere from three to ten things — adventures, places, books, athletic accomplishments, intellectual pursuits, artistic expressions, family activities, sights, sounds, feelings — whatever turns you on and makes you say, “That! Now that would be amazing.”

And then, once you have a list, you pick just one item and go for it. Don’t let up. Chase it like your life depends on it, because in many ways it does. What’s that saying? It’s not the number of years in your life that counts. It’s the life in your years.

When I allowed myself to start thinking this way again, it didn’t take long to start rebuilding the tick list, including the upcoming first-ever circumnavigation of Death Valley National Park, as well as a spectacular adventure run in Iceland, put on by RacingThePlanet. Because I gravitate to gorgeous scenery, remarkable geography, and unique sensory experiences, these two are at the top right now.

What’s next on your list? Please post it in the comments below. I’d love to see it, and you might spark some ideas for others, too.

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10 Responses to Challenge list challenge: make your own

  1. mike cornelison says:

    marshall
    I agree with you make your own list I have knocked off many but as a career ending injury has reduced me to running a 5K at my 50 mile pace from three years ago I just modified my list A Badwater Solo crossing is still out there my solo run attempt ended on Townes Pass three years ago So now the plan is to walk it Thanks for all the motivation you have provided to me and countless others over the years

    • Marshall says:

      Hey, I walk most of Badwater…it works and can be done in about 40 to 44 hours. The point is your out there doing it!
      best,
      marsh

  2. Jeff Mannion says:

    1) run a 100-mile race and earn a “buckle”
    2) qualify for Boston
    3) sub-20 5k (currently 20:54)
    4) summit an 8000-meter peak before I turn 50 (currently 42)

  3. Todd Kelsey says:

    For starters:
    — Finish a 100 miler (my longest is 43 miles so far. Did my first 3 ultras last year at 40 yrs. old)
    — Get a novel published
    — See a football game at U of Michigan’s Big House
    –Meet you and Yiannis Kouros
    –Be more patient and present for my 3 girls (2, 4 & 6 yrs. old… jogging stroller anyone? Ha-ha!)
    THANK YOU MARSHALL for your efforts, inspiration, and time you give to all of us, most whom you don’t even know…

  4. Kat says:

    Go to Africa (planned summer 2012)
    Climb a 14er (planned summer 2012)
    Finish my doctorate (planned summer 2013)
    See the Northern Lights
    Raise kind, bright children that will make our world a better place

    Ya know, the little stuff 😉 Hugs!

  5. Steve says:

    1) After operation on knee in June get back running.
    then in 2013 when I shall be 66
    2) Run a marathon in a Boston Qualifying time.
    3) Do the 3 Peaks Challenge in 24 hours.
    4) Run the South Downs Way (80 miles)in less than 24 hours
    (Dropped out when I tried it twenty years ago and have always regretted doing so)

    Your book great inspiration … many thanks.

  6. Hey Marshall: See ya in Iceland 2013!

    Regards,
    Steve
    Steve Bremner´s last blog post ..Finally completing this, but apparantly I am a robot.

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