Motivation Articles

''What I Learned by Running Around the World''

10 Lessons from a Man Who Ran on 7 Continents

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Polio is a disease that most of us never think much about anymore. Thanks to heroic breakthroughs of the mid 20th century, the disease is more ancient history than current news. 

But polio is on Joe Hale’s mind every single day. While Joe’s mother was pregnant with him, she contracted polio and was paralyzed from the neck down. As he says, “her first visitor was a representative from the March of Dimes.” The group provided support, paid for rehabilitation, and helped her regain use of her upper body. This memory drives Joe every day. 

And recently, it drove him to raise money and awareness for the March of Dimes in a very unique, dedicated way—by running (get ready for this…) 7 marathons in 7 months on 7 continents! He called it the 7in7on7. Traveling the world and running has helped him spread the word about the March of Dimes and their mission of promoting healthy pregnancies. 

He just finished this monstrous undertaking, returning home with 8 marathons under his belt and more than $150,000 in donations for the March of Dimes. He also returned a little wiser than when he started. Below are some of the lessons he learned during his journey of love. If we all take these lessons to heart, we can improve our lives, reach our goals, and enrich the lives of everyone around us. Just like Joe. 

More heroic breakthroughs may be just over the horizon for you... 

Top 10 Things I Learned During 7in7on7! 
-By Joe Hale

 
The older I get, the more I realize that the important things in life are the same things my parents told me were important when I was growing up. I just didn’t believe it at the time. Running seven marathons in seven months on seven continents allowed me the opportunity to experience the truth of those early lessons in amazingly vivid and profound ways. With heartfelt thanks to my mother and father for their wisdom and patience, here are the top ten things I re-learned during “7in7on7.”
  1. Make up your own mind (or at least get a second opinion).
    I celebrated fellow-runner George from California’s 79th birthday with him in Beijing at the Great Wall Marathon. Twenty-five years ago, George’s doctor told him to stop running. George found another doctor. As he put it, “If I’d listened to the first guy, I would have missed out on the best 25 years of my life.”
     
  2. It’s better to give than receive (and a lot more fun).
    There was no more poignant moment than when the American runners noticed the deplorable condition of the Tanzanian runners and began taking off their own running shoes to offer them to the Africans.
     
  3. Eat right and get plenty of exercise. (Yeah, I know, but its true!)
    I met a lot of runners who used to be overweight and out of shape. Most said they weren’t unhappy that way, but all of them said they’re much happier now. I’m going to write a new diet book for Americans and it’ll contain four words: eat less, exercise more. Is there a correlation between the fact that there are 16 million bicycles in Holland and 16 million people and you don’t notice many overweight people? Is there a correlation between the fact that we have shuttles that pick us up at amusement parks in the US to take us to the front gate where we’re met with funnel cake and corn dog stands? I think so.
     
  4. Always keep a hand for the ship. (Whatever you do, be careful!)
    Learned this one on the way to Antarctica on the Russian icebreaker Ioffee. The Captain said, “If you fall overboard, swim for the bottom. Drowning hurts less than freezing to death, and you’re going to do one or other if you go in the water.” Continued ›
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About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

  • ITSMEJENLOVETT
    Finally an article I totally agree with. - 4/23/2014 8:00:04 AM
  • Best article I've ever read on Spark in the three months I've been a member. - 12/12/2013 2:57:45 PM
  • HANSBRINK
    Love the thoughts. Pertinent to all of life, not just running. - 1/3/2013 3:42:49 PM
  • Two years later and I read it again! Just awe-inspiring! Thanks again! - 10/24/2011 8:30:44 PM
  • Awesome story. Very inspiring. Thanks! - 10/24/2011 8:20:17 AM
  • HI,I loved what you had to say in your article!Plus,the number 7 is mention a lot in the Bible.Wow,you sure did have a lot of inspiring stories to share!Thanks for sharing with us!**I like the part where you shared about Ruth,never too old to try anything you enjoy!
    - 11/16/2010 12:55:24 PM
  • I loved your article!! It (and you!) are truly inspirational and uplifting!
    - 10/27/2010 10:12:15 AM
  • Interesting and motivational article. Thank you. - 10/25/2010 4:11:30 PM
  • This is still awesome - 10/25/2010 1:30:24 PM
  • Congratulations! Your article was inspiring! It has made me stop today and be grateful for all that I have and it has given me strength to continue my journey to be stronger and healthier. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts. - 10/24/2010 2:58:44 PM
  • One of the most inspiring articles I have read on Spark! It just goes to show you how much we can achieve when we set our hearts and minds to it! - 10/24/2010 8:23:51 AM
  • TERESAROSE3
    An inspiring story, but. . .as a mother of twins born prematurely (less than 2 pounds) I do not support the March of Dimes. Their message is one that has been extremely damaging to parents of children with disabilities or who were born prematurely. There are many reasons babies are born prematurely or have disabilities that have nothing to do with smoking, drinking or taking drugs, but the MOD perpetuates this myth. - 10/24/2010 1:46:13 AM
  • Wow, this actually made me tear up. - 7/8/2010 7:25:16 PM
  • DAVIDHOMERE
    Very good article, I believe life is worth living if there is a great balance of everything that make someone feel good inside out. It varies from person to person. For some people it might be either or spiritual, mental, psychological, physical , financial. But, they will not be achieved without maximum efforts. As soon as the goal is met. Everything else are history. - 10/24/2009 11:18:02 PM
  • This is by far one of the best, most inspiring stories I have ever read!! - 10/24/2009 10:40:27 PM

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