Above and Beyond

Pay It Forward

I’ve been way too slow getting this out there.

This will only be a short article, but hopefully one that packs a punch when it comes to spreading positive stories….maybe in the hope that some pay it forward, as I know I will.

For those that may not know, things can get a little tricky at home sometimes….my gorgeous wife, Marcelle, battles an illness that reeks havoc on her quality of life. Over the 4-5 weeks after the Surf Coast Century race in September she suffered what was probably her worst relapse in years.  This was particularly tough for her as we really did start to believe she was starting to regain her lost strength and get more of “herself” back.  We did as we always do and circled the wagons while trying to keep the house as “normal” as possible for Gus….help came from family in various forms (thanks guys).

Rewinding the clock, I’ll take you back to the Thursday prior to the Spartan Ultra Beast in Sydney….spending a normal day at work, with half my mind on the race ahead, I was taken aside by my boss to a quiet room where I’m thinking, “WTF is going on here?”.  It couldn’t be bad news because HR weren’t there.  It couldn’t be a promotion because it was all so very “private”.

“I want the keys to your house. Don’t ask me any questions….just answer mine.”

Confused Face

I complied.

Now carrying a sense of “What will I be coming home to?”, the situation was kept secret from Marcelle as we handed Gus into to the care of his favourite uncles for the weekend while we hit the road and made the 9-hour drive to Picton, NSW (1.5hrs south of Sydney).  Marcelle, although grateful for the escape from the house she had been confined to for so long, was a bit frustrated as she surrendered general control to her husband.  Packing, shopping, driving….she was forbidden from any task that would present a risk to her physical state.

This release of control was not easy for her as she is all too familiar with the somewhat manic state her husband slips into when (any) race day approaches….it has definitely become a tradition of comic/tragic proportions.

The drive up was uneventful until we arrived at our destination.  The “caravan tourist park” had all the nice pictures on-line  however better resembled something directly from the set of Wolf Creek.

Having trouble viewing this clip? Click here.

We hustled off before any nutjobs approached us and found something far more suited to camping and less suited to random homicide.

Camping Preferences

The Spartan Ultra Beast kicked my arse for 6.5hrs with more than 3,500m in elevation gain over 42km of racing, so we packed up camp and drove to the coast for our final night away from home and found a magic spot at “Green Patch” in the Booderee National Park.  Aside from having to carry all our stuff to the campsite with my partially broken body, this was perfect.  Quiet, warm and secluded. We hung out, enjoyed each other’s company and shared the occasional joke of what shape the house might be in when we get home….Liam, our 19yr old son, had been house-sitting for us.

So, now to the heart of the matter….

We all do it.  We complain about work, the politics, the “big company” coldness.  Hyatt is a big company….>45,000 employees across the globe generating more than $US4b in revenue.  They often use the term “Hyatt family” which can be easily lost in a machine this size…as you’d expect really.  No.  Not really.

GHM Logo

We pulled up at home at around 10pm, exhausted but happy for the time together. We don’t get it often. I had a vague idea what to expect, so I made sure Marcelle was first to enter.  In darkness, the first sense to trip an alarm was smell.  The house smelt clean and fresh…not what you normally expect after 96 hours of teenager occupation.

We went upstairs to the kitchen and Marcelle was looking around, half confused and wondering why things had been moved around a bit…and why had Liam stuck a five-day menu on the door to the fridge??  I shrugged my shoulders at her as I turned on the lights and handed her a letter that was sitting on the dining table.

“I think this is for you.”

Hyatt Welcome Letter

She read the letter and kept saying “Is this real? Is this really for us?”….she looked around in disbelief.  The house was literally sparkling. The fridge was bulging with pre-made meals.  Flowers were decorating the tabletops. She buried her head into my chest and cried at full volume, saying “I just feel so cared for.” This is probably the best response those responsible could have ever hoped for.  It was a “moment”, no doubt about it. Even now, it is hard not to get a little bit emotional about it all as I re-tell the story. It was an act of unconditional kindness and genuine care….totally unexpected and wholeheartedly appreciated.

My work colleagues played it down with modesty.  “It was nothing. We are just glad we could help you both out a little.”

Well I can tell you, what may have been just ripples at their end were tidal waves at ours.  This was an amazing thing for our boys to witness and lifted an enormous amount of pressure and stress from Marcelle’s shoulders (and mine)….allowing her to relax and repair, and for me not to worry quite so much.

Now it’s your turn.  Find someone. Anyone. A person or a family that could use a helping hand.  It doesn’t have to be much because even discovering that people actually give a shit can still make such a huge difference.  If you’re an employer….I hope this gives you some ideas 🙂 The balance of your good-karma-bank will thank you for it.

Lorne Adventure Race Banner

So, feeling this surge of support, the next race doth approacheth.

This 50km premier adventure race will be taking me outside my comfort zone for at least 16km (2km of ocean swimming and 14km of kayaking). I’ve been hitting up some kayak sessions with the guys at Peak Adventure (Sandridge Surf Lifesaving Club) to try and make my paddle leg more “paddling” and less “flapping about”….that’s if I ever make it past the break.

The next week of training will be 5 days of double sessions Monday to Friday (endurance via bike or kayak in the morning, strength/conditioning in the arvo) and a paddle session on Sunday.  The week prior to the race will be adopting my usual pre-race manic personality while focusing on mobility drills and supplement loading.


You need balls to enter the long course of the Lorne Adventure Race.

For some men, one testicle is larger than the other.  For Chuck Norris, each testicle is larger than the other one.

Chuck - Lone Wolf


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