Turning The Corner


The two longest adventure races I’ll ever run 😉

As a parent, states of worry and hope seem to underpin almost every waking moment. It’s just the degree that varies.  You worry about their health, happiness….their education….you hope they’re kind to people…you hope their friends are real friends.  All that stuff.  Pretty f**king exhausting, but this can become invisible…..even weightless….at those moments when you see them turn a major corner.

We are blessed to have our two boys….Liam (about to hit 20) has always been flying in cruise mode. Aside from unofficially holding the Guiness Book of Records title for “Baby Who Cries The Most”, his teenage years were really pretty straight forward…no major dramas. All in all, a pretty calm dude.  The only worry we did have was that he seemed to be a little lost through his VCE (as most of us were, I guess).  A really clever guy but just doing the bare minimum to get through it all and then not really sure of what to tackle at uni.  However, this quickly changed…thanks to the kindest of interventions from friends who clearly saw something in him.  Now a debt almost impossible to repay as he finds himself happily (?!!) working 60+ hours per week plus studies….a hard working apprentice chef in a cutting-edge Melbourne restaurant that boasts impressive accolades. If you’re ever in Melbourne, you MUST get into Pei Modern…the best people creating the best food experiences (slight bias maybe, but all true).

  • Best Maitre D’ of the Year | Gourmet Traveller 2013 (yep…she really is that good)
  • Best New Restaurant | Age Good Food Guide 2013
  • One Chef Hat | Age Good Food Guide 2013
  • Ranked 29th in Australia | Australian Gourmet Traveller 2014 Australian Restaurant Guide

He totally loves it. They totally love him. Can you picture my #prouddadface ?  Yeah….we know, we know… we’re pretty f**king awesome (and lucky) parents 😉 ….our guy is going to totally rock this career of his.

One down….one to go….

Since running the 7km Spartan Sprint in Melbourne only 3 months after his 14th birthday, Angus’ appetite was looking for something bigger…30 seconds of discussion later, he had his sights firmly fixed on the 21km Spartan Beast in Brisbane.  Fair enough…game on! During the lead up to this grueling event, I encouraged Gus to take on as much training as he felt comfortable with….really just focusing on some obstacles he had troubles with during the Sprint….rope climb (slippery hands), wall traverse (picking the best route) and monkey bars/rings (grip).

Spartan Sprint - Gus 2014

While his cardio output was always going to be ok with 4-5 hours of soccer training and match play each week, we started hitting the climbing gyms pretty regularly to address some upper body work/grip strength while still including a healthy fun-factor. His best-buddy-cousin, Ella, recently finished 6th in a national competition so it’s no wonder this particular activity was his first choice. On top of this, when the big day was looming with only a few weeks to go, Gus started pumping out 90 burpees every day, without fail.  I offered him a deal of $50 cash if he continued this right through to game-day…and with those words, I knew I was going to be $50 poorer 😉

During the better part of this year, Gus has worked extremely hard saving his money through a casual job at a nearby cafe….nearly $800 in his pocket at the moment! Cha-ching!  Initially, the intended end-game was a new computer :-/  He loves on-line gaming with his mates…I’ll admit it’s pretty hard to witness your own son spend so many hours indoors with bad posture thrown in, but you just have to put all that aside and hope these things are just a phase.


Walking to our departure gate at the airport….Beast-bound….Gus turns to me and casually tells me he’s not going to buy a new computer any more….he wants to spend his money on some climbing gear and an indoor rock-climbing membership (!!!)….I so badly tried to be the cool dad and give a casual, flippant Chuck Norris-esk response but I think it came out something like “WHAT, WHat, whaaaat?”

Chuck Surprised About Climbing Gear

$300 lighter….300% happier

His reply?…..”I want to stop simulating my life and actually start living it.”   Holy shit….are you kidding me?  I did ask him for the name of the magazine or book he plagiarised that little golden nugget from, but he assured me it was his own.  To be honest, I don’t care where it came from…it was just too good (I later discovered this seed was planted by Marcelle 🙂 x …nice work, mum x).  As we continued walking through Melbourne airport I don’t know who’s chest was puffed out the furthest 🙂

Mission Accomplished

Once my state of shock had subsided, I can report our flight was all rather nice with the bonus of emergency-exit leg room, a no-brainer rental car collection and a cruisy drive to Peak Crossing.  We’re both pretty fond of camping so the idea of a two-day camp out right in the middle of the race grounds was a total box ticker for us too. While the sunset was sweet, the hand rips sustained while grabbing a sneaky practice on some obstacles were not 🙂

Race day went like clockwork….we were up with the birds and off to a good start. All our stuff was prepped and ready to go….with a 1-minute drive up to the registration area, we were pretty keen on jumping on one of the earlier waves so we could enjoy a cruisy afternoon.  When we arrived, the place was absolutely humming….as was Gus.  He was such a bundle of nerves and excitement he didn’t know which way was up….he just wanted to run.  NOW!  No worries, bud….allow me to pull the trigger.  We merged into the next group…..ready for Max to amp us all up with some start-line hype.

Gus was amazing. Truly. I really was taken back at times by his total grit and overall physical capacity, all while keeping a really positive outlook….chatting and laughing with others on the course.  Mind you, it’s easy to be positive and happy when you don’t have to pump out any f*^king burpee penalties.  Clean sheet! Little bugger.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, dad had to pump out a lazy 90.  Nice one, dad.

With a goal of beating the 4-hour mark, we pushed hard through the final few kilometres.  Catching me off guard again, he even had enough in the tank for an all-out sprint finish over the final 100m.  I had to dig deep to stick to his shoulder….crossing the line together at 3:59.00.  Perfect 🙂 At 14yrs old, this guy would have undoubtedly been the youngest competitor out there….I even had to fudge his age to get his entry through (sorry, Max) so you can imagine his pride when we found out he finished 8th in the u18 category and in the top 25% of the entire field.

I have no doubt this has really ignited something in him and can’t wait to see where it all leads…

Me and Gus, Spartan Beast

Having trouble watching this video?  Click here.

I’m so proud of my guys….for so many reasons.  They’re far cooler and way more savvy than I ever was at their respective ages. Whatever they find themselves doing in the years to come, I’m sure it will be something special….Marcelle and I can only hope we’ve had something to do with it 😉

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2 thoughts on “Turning The Corner

  1. Gem of a post Simon – that¹s something the boys will look back on with pride (if they in fact see it!). Thanks for the mention of Pei tooŠ. Its so good to be highlighted for those reasons. X

    From: Mechanics Of Mud Racing Reply-To: Mechanics Of Mud Racing Date: Monday, 22 September 2014 11:14 am To: Donna Subject: [New post] Turning The Corner

    WordPress.com mudracingmechanics posted: ” As a parent, states of worry and hope seem to underpin almost every waking moment. It’s just the degree that varies. You worry about their health, happiness….their education….you hope they’re kind to people…you hope their friends are real friends”


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