I do not climb really dangerous stuff.

Adam Ondra

The Great Virtual Mount Everest Climb - Rope Work

Posted by martin.parnell |

Mountaineer Martin (aged 64) and Nanatuk Nathan (aged 10) are climbing Mount Everest, 200 stairs per day. It will take them 95 days including 4 Camp rest days.

This is their journal: 

Day 50 of 95: Tuesday, June 2nd 2020 (Elevation 23,600 feet: Stairs 9,600: Vertical height climbed 6,000 feet)

Mountaineer Martin: 

On the morning of Day 48 our merry band of climbers had a celebration. We had reached the half way point of our climb up Mount Everest and Sherpa Jyamchang had brought us a treat: Pizza! However, there was no sitting around in our cozy tents, we had some climbing to do. 

As we were leaving I got a text from my old buddy Crampon Charlie “Fell behind last week as I ran into Yabo the Yeti. He let me go after I gave him the entire box of Twinkies (which I think gave him a toothache). I plan to catch up and see you all at Camp III.” I replied “So happy that Yabo the Yeti ate the Twinkies and not you. Were there any Twinkies left?” to which Charlie answered “Sad to report that all Twinkies were lost to Yabo the Yeti but I escaped unscathed. I have requested an airdrop of Twinkies and am hoping they arrive before summit day. Will keep you updated on Twinkie resupply status.” Things were getting serious. 

Nanatuk Nathan: 

Today was a big day as it was halfway day for our climb. Sherpa Jyamchang helped us celebrate with PIZZA! I have no idea how he managed to get Pizza there but it was really awesome especially after so much climbing. I was surprised when I heard about Yabo the Yeti eating the Twinkies since I always thought they preferred snow cones. Hopefully he doesn't try to find the pizza. 

Day 57 of 95: Tuesday, June 9th 2020 (Elevation 24, 475 feet: Stairs 11,000: Vertical height climbed 6,875 feet)

Mountaineer Martin: 

The next stage of our journey, heading towards Lhotse face, was one of the toughest. It required a number of rope ascents using ropes of dubious strength and changing carabiners between sections. Nanatuk Nathan proved particularly skillful with all things rope. Nice one buddy! 

Nanatuk Nathan: 

Halfway up the rope climb, as a skillful rope person, I saw that further up we went, the harder it was on the ropes. I heard a rumbling in the distance and new a fresh blizzard was setting in, it always felt like every time we caught a break there was always something new happening. No choice but to hunker down for a bit. 

Funds are being raised to Support the Sherpa's. They have lost their jobs and livelihood with the closing of Everest on March 15th. Donations can be made at https://ca.gofundme.com/f/HighHimalayan 

Thank you.

Onwards and upwards.   

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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The summit is what drives us, but the climb itself is what matters.

Conrad Anker

The Great Virtual Mount Everest Climb – Camp II

Posted by martin.parnell |

Mountaineer Martin (aged 64) and Nanatuk Nathan (aged 10) are climbing Mount Everest, 200 stairs per day. It will take them 95 days including 4 Camp rest days.

This is their journal: 

Day 36 of 95: Tuesday, May 19th 2020 (Elevation 21,850 feet: Stairs 6,800: Vertical height climbed 4,500 feet)

Mountaineer Martin:

For three days and three nights Nanatuk Nathan, Sherpa Jyamchang, Baby Tahr and I made our way through “Porg Cavern”. Just as we were losing hope we saw the exit and headed out. We said goodbye to Baby Tahr and pushed on to Camp II. Arriving at the tent settlement I was handed a note by another Sherpa. It said “Made Camp II today (May 13th). See you at Camp III. Best wishes... I have a box of frozen twinkies in my pack...we can all share them at the summit!” signed Crampon Charlie. I’ve known Crampon Charlie for many years. He is one of the top US climbers and is from New Jersey. He’s known for his crazy climbing gear and Father Christmas hat and beard. There was no time to lose. The next morning we left Camp II bright and early, next stop Camp III. 

Nanatuk Nathan:

Once we left Camp II, we continued up Mount Everest. It started colder and colder the higher we went but we knew we had to push through. Three hours after we left Camp II we stopped for lunch, we had turkey sandwiches and they were delicious. An hour or so after lunch we started hearing some scary noises and saw a small avalanche starting on the mountain. Thankfully we were able to run out of the way.  

Day 43 of 95: Tuesday, May 26th 2020 (Elevation 22,725 feet: Stairs 8,200: Vertical height climbed 5,125 feet)

Mountaineer Martin:

This week I received two texts. One from Summit Steve and his family, who are heading up the mountain, and the other from K2 Kristiana. She said “My two youngest children (15 and 12) left base camp with me yesterday. We are planning to follow the step plan that is on the tracking sheet.  After day one we had some sore legs (my 15 year old thought he'd start fast but realized that is not the best approach) but we are looking forward to the next 95 days! Our plan is to make a donation to Sherpa Jyamchang each time we reach a camp.” Great to have you all on board. 

We started the long climb towards Lhotse Wall. Nanatuk Nathan, Sherpa Jyamchang and I are feeling the effects of the lack of oxygen. We climb 6 steps then rest for 10 seconds. One morning Nanatuk Nathan was making his way around an ice turret when he spotted a Himalayan Hare. Sherpa Jyamchang told him that this was an extremely rare sighting. It stood rock still with its ears pricked up then hopped away. Nanatuk Nathan is taking a break from the journal. It’s been a challenging few days and he’s catching up on his sleep, preparing for the next big push. 

Funds are being raised to Support the Sherpa's. They have lost their jobs and livelihood with the closing of Everest on March 15th. Donations can be made at https://ca.gofundme.com/f/HighHimalayan 

Thank you.

Onwards and upwards.  

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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You have to climb the hill to reach the summit, thinking won't get you there.

Marty Rubin

Climbing Everest – The Valley of Silence

Posted by martin.parnell |

Mountaineer Martin (aged 64) and Nanatuk Nathan (aged 10) are climbing Mount Everest, 200 stairs per day. It will take them 95 days including 4 Camp rest days.

This is their journal: 

Day 15: Tuesday, April 28th 2020 (Elevation 19,475 feet: Stairs 3,000: Vertical height climbed 1,875 feet)

Mountaineer Martin: The weather has been getting worse and Nanatuk Nathan and I have been making slow progress. Fortunately we are through the Khumbu icefall and heading towards Camp I. On our journey we have been joined by Sherpa Jyamchang Bhote. He has over 20 years of mountain climbing experience, including 7 summits of Mt. Everest! He told us that he runs a Nepal based climbing company that employees dozens of local Sherpa mountain guides and porters.

Nanatuk Nathan: After meeting up with Sherpa Jyamchang Bhote we continued up the face of Mount Everest. After a few hours it got colder the higher we went, and avalanches were able to happen at any time. Plus we had to watch out for Himalayan bears. On our journey up we saw a group of Himalayan Tahr blocking the path and we had to figure out a way around. 

Day 22 of 95: Tuesday, May 5th 2020 (Elevation 20,225 feet: Stairs 4,200: Vertical height climbed 2,750 feet)

Mountaineer Martin: The band of plucky climbers reached Camp 1 on Day 19. The Valley of Silence, as it is known, is a vast, flat area, deep crevasses and mountain walls frequently washed by avalanches. At night we listened to the deep, murmuring cracking sounds under our tents. The pounding headaches were torturing us but as we left Camp 1, early morning of Day 20, we gained the first close sight of the mighty Everest. 

Nanatuk Nathan: After leaving Camp 1 we continued up Mount Everest with our Sherpa guide. I still had some fluff on my coat from the Himalayan Tahr we saw earlier. After a long climb we hit a rather nasty snow storm, it was tough but we pulled through. After it cleared it was beautiful and sunny. 

Day 29 of 95: Tuesday, May 12th 2020 (Elevation 21,100 feet: Stairs 5,600: Vertical height climbed 3,625 feet) 

Mountaineer Martin: Things had been going well for Nanatuk Nathan, Sherpa Jyamchang and myself, however that was all about to change. On Day 26th the weather went from clear and sunny to a complete white out. Fortunately we were roped together as we couldn’t see more than 2 feet in front of each other. Hour after hour we trudged on not realizing we had taken a wrong turn and were heading into the North Face of Everest. Suddenly, as the mist started to lift, we spotted an ominous dark shape, it was a huge cave. As we entered the mouth of the cavern we couldn’t believe what we saw! 

Nanatuk Nathan: After entering the mouth of the cave, that I decided to call Porg Cavern, I opened Papa Martins backpack and took out a flashlight. When I turned it on I was startled by a baby Himalayan Tahr who had wandered off from its herd. After the little scare we continued on through the cave. After walking for a while we stopped for lunch and I shared some of my sandwich with the baby Tahr who was following us. 

Funds are being raised to Support the Sherpa's. They have lost their jobs and livelihood with the closing of Everest on March 15th:  https://ca.gofundme.com/f/HighHimalayan 

Thank you.

Onwards and upwards. 

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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To touch the sky, you just have to get that little bit closer.

Anthony T. Hincks

Day 15 of 95: Climbing Everest – One Stair at a Time

Posted by martin.parnell |

Sir Edmund Hillary was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer, and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt. From 1985 to 1988 he served as New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India and Bangladesh and concurrently as Ambassador to Nepal.

Hillary became interested in mountaineering while in secondary school. He made his first major climb in 1939, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier. He served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force as a navigator during World War II and as wounded in an accident. Prior to the Everest expedition, Hillary had been part of the British reconnaissance expedition to the mountain in 1951 as well as an unsuccessful attempt to climb Cho Oyu in 1952. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He subsequently reached the North Pole, making him the first person to reach both poles and summit Everest.

Following his ascent of Everest, Hillary devoted himself to assisting the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he established. His efforts are credited with the construction of many schools and hospitals in Nepal. Hillary had numerous honours conferred upon him, including the Order of the Garter in 1995. Upon his death in 2008, he was given a state funeral in New Zealand.

 

Mountaineer Martin (aged 64) and Nanatuk Nathan (aged 10) are climbing Mount Everest, 200 stairs per day. It will take them 95 days including 4 Camp rest days. 

This is their journal:

Day 15: Tuesday, April 28th 2020 (Elevation 19,475 feet: Stairs 3,000: Vertical height climbed 1,875 feet)

Mountaineer Martin:

The weather has been getting worse and Nanatuk Nathan and I have been making slow progress. Fortunately we are through the Khumbu icefall and heading towards Camp I. On our journey we have been joined by Sherpa Jyamchang Bhote. He has over 20 years of mountain climbing experience, including 7 summits of Mt. Everest! He told us that he runs a Nepal based climbing company that employees dozens of local Sherpa mountain guides and porters. 

Nanatuk Nathan:

After meeting up with Sherpa Jyamchang Bhote we continued up the face of Mount Everest. After a few hours it got colder the higher we went, and avalanches were able to happen at any time. Plus we had to watch out for Himalayan bears. On our journey up we saw a group of Himalayan Tahr blocking the path and we had to figure out a way around. 

Funds are being raised to Support the Sherpa's. They have lost their jobs and livelihood with the closing of Everest on March 15th:  https://ca.gofundme.com/f/HighHimalayan 

Thank you. Onwards and upwards. 

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.

Barry Finlay, Kilimanjaro and Beyond

Day 8 of 95: Climbing Everest – One Stair at a Time

Posted by martin.parnell |

Mount Everest is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The International border between Nepal (Province No. 1) and China (Tibet Autonomous Region) runs across its summit point.

The current official elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft), recognised by China and Nepal, was established by a 1955 Indian survey and subsequently confirmed by a Chinese survey in 1975.

In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society, as recommended by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India, who chose the name of his predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest, despite Everest's objections.

Mount Everest attracts many climbers, some of them highly experienced mountaineers. There are two main climbing routes, one approaching the summit from the southeast in Nepal (known as the "standard route") and the other from the north in Tibet. While not posing substantial technical climbing challenges on the standard route, Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, and wind, as well as significant hazards from avalanches and the Khumbu Icefall.

Mountaineer Martin (aged 64) and Nanatuk Nathan (aged 10) are climbing Mount Everest 200 stairs per day. It will take them 95 days including 4 Camp rest days.

This is their journal:

Day 8 of 95: Tuesday, April 21st 2020 (Elevation 18,600 feet: Stairs 1,600: Vertical height climbed 1,000 feet) 

Mountaineer Martin (MM): 

The first 8 days have been tough going for Nanatuk Nathan and me. We are tackling the Khumbu icefall which moves at such speed that large crevasses open with little warning, and the large towers of ice (called seracs) found at the icefall have been known to collapse suddenly. Huge blocks of ice tumble down the glacier from time to time, their sizes ranging from that of cars to large houses. 

Nanatuk Nathan (NN): 

Papa Martin (MM) and I are leaving base camp and continuing up Mount Everest. It was tough but we knew the only way was up. We were faced with huge snowstorms but Papa Martin (MM) and I are holding our ground. On our way up we also saw a snow leopard and had to find a way around it. 

Funds are being raised for Support the Sherpas. They have lost their jobs and livelihood with the closing of Everest on March 15th: https://ca.gofundme.com/f/HighHimalayan 

Thank you. 

Onwards and upwards.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.

Pierre Alexandre Jean Mollière - French playwright

How some Good News can Brighten your Day

Posted by martin.parnell |

My wife keeps a journal and, every Saturday, makes a point of including a “Good News Story” e.g. “Koalas are re-entering the wild after wild fires destroyed much of their habitat... ... Sydney-based wildlife conservation organization Science for Wildlife announced that four rescued adult koalas and one baby joey would, at last, be released back into the New South Wales national park Kanangra-Boyd.” 

During these times of global fears in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. I thought I’d try and come up with some other good news stories and quotes to lift our spirits: 

In parts of America, people are filling their Little Free Libraries with cans of food and rolls of toilet paper. 

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
Charles R. Swindoll  -   Evangelical Christian pastor, author, educator, 

In Morristown, N.J. — Nurses, doctors and staff at the local Medical Center were left in tears as a mystery man held up a sign to the hospital window thanking them for saving his wife’s life. As staff tended to a busy emergency room, the unknown man stood outside the back window of the emergency department, placed his hand over his heart and held the poster sign that read: "Thank you all in emergency for saving my wife's life I love you all." 

“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.”
Doe Zantamata - author, artist, and photographer 

Sophia Thomas, 8, from Southampton, England, was unable to celebrate her birthday as normal following the government’s announcement last week that people should stay home. So the people from her entire street assembled outside Sophia’s  home to sing “Happy Birthday” to her on 25 March, whilst social –distancing. 

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe   -   American abolitionist and author.  

In Edmonton, Alberta, Cara McLeod turned her condo balcony into a stage to share the beauty of opera with her neighbours. McLeod, a soprano with the Edmonton Opera, performed to passersby who gathered while maintaining a safe distance from each other. She was inspired by the videos of Italians singing on their balconies and from their windows as that country began locking down. "Just seeing how, in such a stressful time, that people can come together and use music and raise their voices and have a light spirit even in the pain, was really beautiful," she said.

“When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”
John F. Kennedy   -     35th President of the United States 

All 78 elephants at Maesa elephant camp in Chiang Mai were set free on as their owners scrapped the heavy wooden chairs that are tied to their backs for carrying tourists. Camp director Anchalee Kalampichit said this was the first time in 44 years that the elephants had not worn the seats at the start of the day. She said the park will now change their business to allow the elephants to roam freely in the grounds and operate as a place for visitors to observe the animals. They will never wear chairs again.

 “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”
Thich Nhat Hanh    -   Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist,

A 90-year-old woman who contracted Coronavirus at a nursing home in Seattle has recovered. Geneva Wood, a resident at Life Care Center is now a beacon of hope, especially for people over 65. Health officials have said elderly people are especially vulnerable to the disease. Wood tested positive for coronavirus on March 6, her grand-daughter-in-law, Kate Neidigh said. When Wood tested positive for COVID-19, the family was "stricken, and in shock," and "mad," Neidigh said. Wood, however had a different outlook. "I'm going to fight this for my family and make everyone proud,"

I found this story posted by Mark Rice-Oxley on The Guardian website, March 27th. 2020: “Rolo, the dachshund has been so happy that everyone (in our household) is home for quarantine that his tail has stopped working. The vet told us that he had “sprained his tail from excessive wagging.” 

And, if you feel the need for more good news stories, to brighten your day, why not check out the Sunny Skyz website www.sunnyskyz.com and Readers Digest Canada, website https://www.readersdigest.ca/culture/good-news-stories-world/

Stay well.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Winning isn't about finishing in first place. It isn't about beating the others. It is about overcoming yourself. Overcoming your body, your limitations, and your fears. Winning means surpassing yourself and turning your dreams into reality.

Kilian Jornet – Elite Mountain Runner
Personal Peak Quarantine Backyard Ultra

Personal Peak Quarantine Backyard Ultra

Posted by martin.parnell |

Early Saturday, April 4th I was standing on my treadmill, in my basement, waiting for a race to begin. In total there were over 2,400 participants from over 55 countries and we were about to participate in an event the likes of which had never been seen before.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife Sue was listening to CBC when Dave Proctor, a Calgary elite Ultra runner was talking about an event that would connect the world. With the spring racing calendar being totally wiped out due to COVID-19 Dave was looking for something to pull the global running community together and he came up with the Personal Peak Quarantine Backyard Ultra.

Originally, Dave was planning a Trans-Canadian speed record for May, and his crew was going to be made up of the Personal Peak team. However, with the coronavirus outbreak, he had to cancel the attempt. Instead of letting his training go to waste, he decided to use it for a virtual race. Along with Personal Peak, an endurance training company, he organized the Quarantine Backyard Ultra and sent invitations to the world’s best ultra-runners. The event was also open to non-elite runners.

For the Quarantine Backyard Ultra, all runners had to log into Zoom. Racers had a choice between running on a treadmill or running outside as they had to complete a 6.706 km lap in less than an hour and prove it by showing the Zoom audience their GPS data if they ran outside or their treadmill screen inside. Then they could move onto the next lap with every lap starting on the hour.

Having had my Boston Marathon cancelled, I was looking for something to fill the space. I certainly didn’t want to waste my weeks of training. The other thing I wanted to do was to use the race as a fund raiser. I decided to combine the donations I raised from my Year End Run with the Backyard Ultra and see if I could hit the $10,000 fund raising target for the Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and area.

So at 6.45 am MST and with 15 minutes to go, my hydration and nutrition were prepared and I set up my laptop so that the camera could view me on the treadmill. I then logged into Zoom. The screen was filled with 30 runners from around the globe, just a small fraction of the 620 that were in my starting group.

At 7.00am MST a bell rang and we were off. I decided to watch some TV and my friend Wayne suggested “The Kindness Diaries” on Netflix. I had set a pace of 7:30 minutes per kilometer and with 6.71 kms to run it took me 53:40. Now the goal I had set myself was to run a marathon (42.2 km) so if I ran for 7 loops (7 hours) that would give me 47 kms. The first 5 loops went well. I started to struggle on loop 6 and Sue told me that I was too close to the back of the treadmill. I was definitely having a hard time holding my pace.

I had toyed with the idea of doing 10 loops but on loop 7 I knew that was it. I didn’t want to get spat out the back of the treadmill and splatted against the back wall. At the end of the 7th loop I got off the treadmill and logged of Zoom. That meant that I got a “Did Not Finish” (DNF). In fact every participant would get a DNF other that the winner.

Over the rest of Saturday I followed the event and learned about several of the participants. There was “The Living Room Guy” who ran around his sofa, “Coffee Shop Matt” who did loops inside a closed coffee shop and Anna who was running in Northern Sweden through the ice and snow. By 7.00pm that night there were 671 runners remaining.

Sunday morning, after a good night’s sleep I checked the You Tube live feed at 7.00 am MST. A total of 24 laps had been completed for 160km and 71 runners remained. Over the next 12 hours a number of the top contenders had pulled the plug including Dave Proctor who was dealing with a hip flexor issue. At 7.00pm MST, 36 loops were done for 242 kms and the final 14 remained. Time for another sleep.

Monday morning at 7.00am MST I checked the Personal Peaks Facebook page. A total of 48 loops had been completed, 322 kms covered and only two runners were still going. Mike Wardian from Arlington, Virginia was doing loops around his neighbourhood and Radek Brunner, from the Czech Republic, was running on a treadmill he had purchased a week before.

I checked the feed every hour and this epic battle continued until 9.00 pm MST. Mike and Radek had both finished lap 62 and were about to head-out on lap 63. The start bell sounded and Mike headed off. Radek was on the treadmill but wasn’t moving. For 2 minutes he stood there and then he started to run. However, the rules state that you must start running right away and Radek was disqualified. A very tough break.

Mike finished his lap in 31:05, his fastest lap of the entire race. Mike wanted to keep going to break the record of 68 laps but he was told that the rules required he could only do one lap after the other person had dropped out. In total Mike ran 422.3 kms over 63 hours and was awarded the grand prize: The Golden Toilet Paper Roll. 

It had been an amazing event bring people together from all over the world in this very difficult time. There was a real connection that is so important in this time of social distancing and isolation.

And the cherry on top was that my combined Final Year End / Backyard Ultra fund raiser hit the $10,000 target for the Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area. Now that is worth celebrating.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning.

Mr. Rogers
How to Entertain and Educate your Kids during the Coronavirus

How to Entertain and Educate your Kids during the Coronavirus

Posted by martin.parnell |

Our Daughter, Kristina, is currently at home, with our two grandsons, Nathan (10) and Matthew (5), in Montreal. Every Sunday we Skype with them and they tell us about their week. These online visits are usually filled with news about what they have been doing both at home and at school. Now, however, it’s all about the activities they are finding to do whilst waiting out the coronavirus. 

Our daughter has devised a daily schedule and helped them occupy their time with various activities. One of these is under the heading “Field Trips.” Kristina has been online and found some virtual tours which not only entertain the boys, but, at the same time, educate them. This week, we asked them if to tell us their favourites: 

On the “We Are Teachers” website, you can find a range of tours for spring 2020, selected by teachers. https://www.weareteachers.com/best-virtual-field-trips/.

At Santiago Zoo, there are live cams showing a wide range of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, giraffe and polar bears and penguins. 

Apart from the virtual “Field Trips”, you can find lots of activities on Pinterest, from Arts and Crafts many geared to specific grades e.g. Art ideas for Grade 1 to hundreds of printable work sheets for all Grades e.g. Maths work sheets Grade 6. You can also think of your own activities. Why not give your child access to a video camera and let them make up their own video tour of their bedroom or your home. 

My wife, is setting them a 10 day Art Challenge. She will give them a list of ten words e.g. Yellow, Room, Big, Building, Food etc. and they have to interpret that word in whichever way they choose. It might be drawing, painting, cutting and gluing, using recycled materials or construction kits. They have to do one activity per day, for the ten days. It will be interesting to see what ideas each of them comes up with. She is also doing her own Art Challenge and will share her ideas with Nathan and Matthew – it’s a two-way thing. 

If you have young child you can get them to practice skills like matching e.g. putting the socks into pairs, when they come out of the washing machine to counting e.g. setting the table for dinner “How many forks do we need?” and asking questions when you read them a story “How many animals can you see?” “Where did the bear go?’ “Why did the ............?”  You get my drift. 

It’s probably going to be quite some time before the kids will be back at school and I know many parents are trying to keep them occupied, whilst they, themselves, work from home. That’s when a daily schedule helps. If you set aside a time, each morning, to give you child activities to last a few hours, it can benefit you both. It will also help them to learn independently. 

I know it must be much more difficult if the children are very young and I wish I had ideas for you, too. But I don’t. So, I found this article on the Make it website:                                        

5 tips for effectively working from home during the coronavirus outbreak, when you have kids by Courtney Connley Published Mon, Mar 16 2020 she writes:

“As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, at least 69,000 schools across the U.S. have been closed or are scheduled to close, according to Education Week, which published a state-by-state map tracking school closures across the country. For thousands of parents who have been asked to work remotely, this means extra challenges when trying to balance the demands of work life and home life while coronavirus remains a concern. 

Though many parents have had a “one off working-from-home day” when a kid is sick or the weather is bad, the reality of working remotely every single day alongside your kids will be a “steep learning curve” for a lot of people, says FlexJobs career development manager Brie Reynolds.

“I’ve been working from home full-time for about 10 years,” Reynolds, who has a 6-year-old and a 1-year-old, says. “I’m still just today learning what is going to work for us in the next few weeks.” Below, she, along with executive coach and author Julie Kratz and entrepreneur Patrice Cameau break down five simple tips for implementing an effective work-from-home set-up with your kids. 

1. Create a schedule

As a mom of a 12-year-old, 2-year-old and 1-year-old, Cameau says setting a strict schedule that replicates that of a normal school day has been helpful to her. “I can’t focus on my work until I have them together,” says Cameau, who owns a content-creator studio in Hyattsville, Md., called CAMPspace. Her 12-year-old has been occupied with completing virtual assignments after his school closed last week, but Cameau says her younger two kids are more dependent on her attention. Each morning, she says, she has them wake up, eat breakfast and get dressed at the same time they would if they were going to daycare.

She tries to get the bulk of her work completed during her kids’ lunch hour, nap time and the down time she’s set aside for them to be on technology. “I’ll be honest, there have been days where my kids have been home from school, and I didn’t set a schedule,” Cameau says. But she has since learned from those experiences. “This is my first time ever doing something like this because I don’t know how long we’re going to be in this situation, so we need to just try to move the best way we can.”

2. Communicate, even more than you think is necessary

As someone who has been working remotely for a decade, Reynolds says communication is the No. 1 thing you have to be “cognizant of and thinking about all the time.” When it comes to work life, she says it’s OK to be transparent about the fact that you’re also juggling the needs of your kids, so your coworkers aren’t caught by surprise. For example, if you’re on a conference call, it’s acceptable to sometimes say, “Hey, just a heads up, I might have a kid walk into this room, and I will handle it and get right back to you.”

“On a regular basis you might not want to say that,” Reynolds explains. But during an unexpected work-from-home situation such as this, she says “it’s absolutely critical” to over-communicate. It can also be helpful to create a spreadsheet with your manager and the rest of your team, where you each outline your emergency contact information and your availability for virtual meetings. “You should come together and talk about what’s going to work best for everyone,” she says. “This might mean more frequent, but casual meetings, or it might mean fewer meetings altogether.”

3. Set boundaries with your children

On top of communicating with your colleagues, Reynolds says it’s crucial to set boundaries with your kids when working remotely, especially if they’re school-aged. Right now, she says, it may be helpful to allow your kids to watch more TV and play more games than usual in order to keep them occupied. In this event, Reynolds says, you need to explain to your kids that this is a special thing, and this freedom won’t go on forever. Outside of being more flexible about screen-time, Reynolds says you should also tell your kids when you need to be in “do not disturb” mode. 

“With my 6-year-old, I had him do a little arts and crafts project where he made me a ‘stop’ sign and a ‘go’ sign for my office door,” she says. “He knows when he sees a ‘stop’ sign that he shouldn’t come in unless some big, crazy thing is going on. Then, if the green ‘go’ sign is there then he can walk right in.”

Kratz, who is the founder of Next Pivot Point a leadership organization for women, agrees with Reynolds. She says if you’re a work-from-home employee who doesn’t have a designated office space, then setting clear boundaries with your kids can be helpful. “You’ve got to have a place where you have private times,” she says. “That might be your bedroom, your closet, a guest room, your basement or wherever you can find a place where you can have uninterrupted, quiet space.” And to help keep this space quiet, she says, parents can use a system similar to the one Reynolds set up with her children.

“I always recommend to parents working from home to have a physical sign on the door with a thumbs up, thumbs down or whatever works as a signal for when you truly cannot be interrupted.”

4. Take breaks

Though you may feel pressured to overextend yourself while working remotely in order to prove to your team that you’re actually working, Reynolds says it’s critical that you carve out time to take a break. Nearly 90%of American workers say that taking a lunch break helps them to feel refreshed and ready to get back to work, according to the “Take Back the Lunch Break” survey released by global health and hygiene brand Tork. “Breaks are important when working at home,” says Kratz. She suggests that for every hour of focused work you complete, you take at least a 10 minute break to grab a snack, walk around or say “hi” to your kids. She also adds that a quick at-home yoga session, a hot shower or indulging in your favorite podcasts are other self-care things you can do when taking a healthy break from work. 

When taking this time to unplug and reset, Reynolds says it’s perfectly fine to communicate to your boss with a message such as, “Hey, I’m going to be out of pocket for 30 minutes or so at 1 p.m.” She says speaking up when you need a break or extra support is important. And it doesn’t hurt to also offer support or coverage for another colleague who may need a break as well. “I think showing that you’re supportive and also you need support is something that we all have to do at this point,” she says.

5. Alternate shifts with your partner

If you’re in a position where both you and your spouse are working from home, Reynolds says alternating shifts with your partner can make working remotely a lot easier. “I got to work very early this morning, and [my husband] woke up with the kids and made breakfast and did all that sort of stuff,” she said. After breakfast, Reynolds said, she and her husband then switched shifts throughout the day, allowing each other to have uninterrupted work time. If switching shifts with your spouse is not an option, then Cameau, whose husband is not able to work remotely, emphasizes that a strict schedule and extra planning will be key to maximizing your day.  

“One thing I do immediately when I wake up, in addition to following the schedule, is clean up all of their toys so that the living room is no longer a playroom,” explains Cameau. “For me, it helps to clear up space so that when I do have time to get work done while they’re napping, I’m not spending it trying to clean up toys.”

One thing I would like to emphasise is that you may think your child is just playing all the time, but most play activities can be an opportunity for learning.

Also, we all need time to play, so why not embrace the opportunity to play and have fun with them?

Stay Well.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Books are a uniquely portable magic.

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Keep Calm and Read a Good Book

Keep Calm and Read a Good Book

Posted by martin.parnell |

With the current COVID-19 pandemic affecting all parts of society, I thought I’d write a blog unrelated to business, but of a rather more general subject.

In these times of working from home and self-isolating, many of us have to look to how to fill our leisure times that doesn’t require contact with others. No more frequenting the gym, the cinema, our favourite restaurants and bars. 

One activity that many of us enjoy but often wish we could spend more time doing is reading. Now may be the time to take advantage of more time on our hands and hit that book pile. 

If, by any chance, you tend to read the same genre and are looking for something a little different, I thought I’d’ make a list and offer up some ideas. However, my wife, Sue is a more avid reader than I am and so I thought I’d pass this over to her and ask her to come up with some titles: 

Sue’s suggestions: 

 Fiction 

 Title                                                                       Author                                      

                                   

  • The Cuckoos Calling                                       Robert  Galbraith 
  • The Children Act                                            Ian McEwan
  • A Complicated Kindness                                 Miriam Toews
  • The Invention of Wings                                  Sue Monk Kidd
  • Flowers for Algernon                                      Daniel Keyes
  • The Child Finder                                            Rene Denfeld                 
  • The Shadow of the Wind                                Carlos Ruiz  Zafon
  • Deadly Virtues                                               Jo Bannister
  • The End of the Line                                        Stephen Legault
  • Perfume                                                        Patrick Suskind
  • Incendiary                                                     Chris Cleave
  • 11/22/63                                                       Stephen King

For murder mysteries, anything by Henning Mankell, Linwood Barclay or Michael Connelly. 

Non-fiction

Title                                                                            Author 

  • Dead Wake                                                      Erik Larson 
  • Isaac’s Storm                                                   Erik Larson 
  • Seabiscuit                                                        Laura Hillenbrand
  • The Underground Girls of Kabul                         Jenny Nordberg        
  • All Over But The Shoutin’                                  Rick Bragg
  • Mennonite in a Little Black Dress                        Rhoda Janson

 

Humou

Title                                                                             Author  

  • A Spot of Bother                                                Mark Haddon
  • Blott on the Landscape                                       Tom Sharpe
  • A Short History of Tractors in the Ukraine             Marina Lewycka 

 

Classics

Title                                                                            Author 

  • Tess of the D’Urbavilles                                     Thomas Hardy 
  • The Black Tulip                                                 Alexander Dumas
  • Gulliver’s Travels                                              Jonathan Swift 
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles                           Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
  • Madame Bovary                                               Gustave   Flaubert 
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray                                Oscar Wilde 
  • The Stepford Wives                                          Ira Levin   

 

And so many more, it’s very hard to select just a few.

Hope this gives you a few ideas. Keep well and read on!

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Achieving gender equality requires the engagement of women and men, girls and boys. It is everyone’s responsibility.

Ban Ki Moon – Secretary General of the United Nations
The Secret 3k – Safe Races, Safe Spaces

The Secret 3k – Safe Races, Safe Spaces

Posted by martin.parnell |

On Wednesday, March 4th at 3.30pm a group of students, teachers and parents lined up outside Ecole Notre-Dame des Vallees School in Cochrane, Alberta. They were all there for one reason: To participate in The Secret 3k.

The Secret 3k, now in its third year, was inspired by film-maker Kate McKenzie’s documentary film “The Secret Marathon”, in which she and I traveled to Afghanistan to support that country’s first female marathoners. Since its inception, The Secret 3k has grown to become an international movement with 15 affiliated events across Canada and 12 countries participating around the world. 

“While filming a documentary in Afghanistan” Kate said, “I was inspired by such brave women and girls who fought for equality and at times, risked their lives for the freedom to run outdoors. When I returned to Canada, I was struck by the stories of so many women who told me they didn’t feel safe to walk or run at night right here in Calgary. 

The Secret 3k was launched to reclaim safe public spaces and champion gender equality here at home. We’re excited to have The Running Room and Girl Guides of Canada joining us for The Secret 3k because it will help us to reach one of our goals of making a difference here in Canada to promote safe and inclusive spaces and empower young people to be part of creating that change.” 

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

As The Secret 3k was about to start at Ecole Notre-Dame des Vallees, one of the students did the count down from 10 and we were off. Everyone ran and walked at their own pace along the Bow River pathways proudly wearing their “EQUALITY” bibs. One kilometre in we spotted a herd of deer and a buck. Amazing. At the turn-around spot I waited for all the participants to pass then I headed back. 

As the students crossed the line everyone cheered and gave each other hi-fives. They were thrilled that they had completed 3 km and done something to help others. In this case it was supporting three very worthwhile causes: The Girl Guides of Canada, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan and the Marathon of Afghanistan. 

As the students, parents and teachers headed off home they all said that they wanted to do it again next year. 

The run / walk takes place during the week of International Women's Day and celebrates gender equality and creating safe and inclusive spaces. Next year's event will take place on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. 

See you there.

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Scientists may have sophisticated laboratories, But never forget 'eureka' was inspired in a bathtub.

Toba Beta

How Solving a Problem can Inspire a Successful Business

Posted by martin.parnell |

I have just read an article, posted this past Wednesday, 26th. February, on the Love Money website, written by Natalie Marchant. It is entitled “Eureka moments that led to world – famous businesses. ”Eureka is a word, commonly used to celebrate a discovery or invention. It is an exclamation attributed to Ancient Greek mathematician and inventor. According to history, he reportedly proclaimed "Eureka! Eureka!" after he had stepped into a bath and noticed that the water level rose. 

This led him to realise that the volume of water displaced must be equal to the volume of the part of his body he had submerged. He then realized that the volume of irregular objects could be measured with precision, a previously intractable problem (This revelation is not what is known as Archimedes principle - that deals with the up thrust experienced by a body immersed in a fluid). 

Marchant’s article takes this idea and applies it to the ways in which some people have had such a moment or a need to solve a problem, which has led to some of today’s best known businesses. 

Marchant lists 20, in all, some of which are commonly known e.g. when IKEA's Ingvar Kamprad thought there was a market for a different kind of furniture, Sir Richard Branson was emboldened by the unexpected success of Tubular Bells, Airbnb's Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia came up with a business as a way to pay the rent and Microsoft's Bill Gates was inspired by a new computer to write a programming language. However, Marchant also explains the way in which other successful businesses got their starts. 

I would like to share some of them with you: “Nissin's Momofuku Ando saw a quicker way to make noodles. His name may not be widely known outside Japan but he is credited for helping transform the global instant food industry. The entrepreneur was inspired to make pre-cooked instant noodles after seeing ordinary people queue for a hot bowl of the Japanese staple in post-war Osaka. He went on to found Nissin Food Products, famous for the Cup Noodle. He died 2007 aged 96 – two years after seeing his instant noodles sent into orbit on US space shuttle Discovery.  

World Foods founder John Mackey became inspired by the power of organic eating after dropping out of college and becoming a buyer for a vegetarian co-operative. He and his then-girlfriend Renee Lawson Hardy decided to open their own natural grocery store in the ground floor of a house in Austin, Texas. The pair then teamed up with fellow store owners Craig Weller and Mark Skiles, began selling meat, beer and wine to expand their clientele, and Whole Foods Market became a resounding success.

Sara Blakely, was selling fax machines when she had the idea that prompted her to found shaping underwear firm Spanx. Having bought an expensive pair of white trousers, she wanted a seamless look so she took a pair of tights and chopped the feet off to wear underneath. Realizing that the improvised undergarment flattered and smoothed her shape, Blakely took the $5,000 she had in savings to create a patent and founded Spanx, now a leading underwear brand. 

Not a vast amount is known about the notoriously reclusive chief of UK-based online gambling site Bet365, Denise Coates. What is certain is that her gamble on in-play betting markets changed the face of the bookmaking industry. In 2000, while working for her father, who ran a chain of betting shops, she set up Bet365 after realizing that every minute of play was a possible gambling opportunity. Coates is now worth an estimated $8.1 billion (£6.7bn), according to Forbes. 

Nick Woodman dreamed up the idea of the GoPro camera after a surf trip to Australia and Indonesia in 2001. He needed a camera to document his trip, and strapped one to his arm. But Woodman soon realized that he had to make the camera, its casing and the strap all in one, so knocked up a prototype using his mother's sewing machine and a drill. GoPro is now the world's leading action camera brand, selling 11 million units in 2017 alone.  

Toms CEO Blake Mycoskie founded his shoe business after traveling to Argentina in 2006, where he met a women working with a voluntary group distributing shoes to children. But he realized that this charitable giving model was unsustainable as children soon grew out of them. So he set up Toms and came up with the "One for One" business model, which saw his company donate a pair of shoes for every pair sold. Toms has now given away more than 86 million pairs to children in need worldwide. 

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum was born in Ukraine before moving to the US as a teenager. He went on to work as a computer programmer at Yahoo! with Brian Acton, but the pair left in 2007 and spent the following year traveling. Both were also turned down for jobs by Facebook. But it was in 2009 when Koum bought an iPhone and realized the App Store was about to spawn an entire industry that was the turning point. The pair went on to develop WhatsApp, which they sold for $19 billion (£16bn) to none other than Facebook in 2014.  

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann came up with the idea for the virtual pinboard app while working at Google. But he wanted to build products, not just look at spreadsheets, so he quit – and then the economy collapsed. He eventually teamed up with a college friend and they built catalog app Tote. The pair then move on to building Pinterest, with Silbermann explaining: "I'd always thought that the things you collect say so much about who you are." The app now has more than 322 million monthly active users.” 

If you have an idea that comes to you, out of the blue or is the result of successfully solving a personal problem, don’t be afraid to try turning it into a business. There may be hundreds, if not thousands of people trying to solve that same problem and, not only could you be helping them, but helping yourself to become a successful entrepreneur.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

William Arthur Ward – American Author
How Changes in the Workplace may Affect Employees

How Changes in the Workplace may Affect Employees

Posted by martin.parnell |

Over the past few days, our town of Cochrane, North West of Calgary, has been experiencing a Chinook. One of the most striking features of this weather phenomenon is the Chinook arch, a band of stationary stratus clouds, which can look like threatening storm clouds, although they rarely produce rain or snow but can crate stunning sunrises and sunsets. So, what is the definition of a Chinook?

According to L.C. Nkemdirim, in the Canadian Encyclopaedia online, posted February 2006:  “In Canada, the Chinook belt lies almost exclusively within southern and central Alberta. The wind occurs in every season, but it is more distinctive and numerous in the winter, when the unseasonable warming it brings differentiates it from the normal cold winter weather.

A Chinook is a warm, dry, gusty, westerly wind that blows down the Rocky Mountains into the eastern slopes and the western prairies. The Chinook, a native word meaning "snow eater," belongs to a family of winds experienced in many parts of the world where long mountain chains lie more or less at right angles to the prevailing wind.

In south-western Alberta, one in 3 winter days is a Chinook day; its frequency drops to one in 5 in the northeast. The maximum daily temperature anomaly associated with the wind ranges from +13°C in the northwest to +25°C in the southeast. The temperature rise at the onset of the event is abrupt and steep; an increase of 27°C in 2 minutes has been observed.

In Scientific terms “The warmth of the Chinook is derived primarily from 2 non- mutually exclusive sources. Firstly, the replacement of arctic air (the mean temperature at Calgary's elevation is -24°C) by maritime air (-2°C) improves surface temperatures.

Secondly, if the down slope flow occurs following a loss of moisture through precipitation on the windward side of the mountain, the heat used to change the water into vapour (latent heat) is returned to the air parcel and warms it. The down slope flow leeward of the mountain warms the wind further, reducing its relative humidity sometimes down to 25% or less. Wind speed ranges from 16 km/h to 60 km/h, gusting to 100 km/h.

The Chinook melts snow, dries soil, desiccates vegetation and is a factor in soil erosion. Most people appreciate the Chinook because it is a pleasant break from the frigid winter temperatures characteristic of the region. However, a significant minority complain of discomforts ranging from headaches and earaches to depression and attempted suicide.” 

So, if you live in Alberta, you could define a Chinook as a warm wind that blows in, unpredictably, from time to time, causes changes for a while and then leaves. 

Sounds a bit like some of the people who might appear in you workplace. 

Apart from customers, a visiting dignitary or someone from head office, there are several ways in which the general flow of the workplace may be affected, by people who come and go, including part-time workers, multiple job holders, and those in short-duration jobs. Sometimes, production activities may require the bringing together of groups of individuals specific projects. Stages of projects change and this may require the addition of temporary staff or the letting go of those surplus to requirements. 

Certain types of work exhibit high pace of job and worker reallocation. There is more opportunity for “job hopping”, for promotion and other types of career opportunity and workers are more geographically mobile. Additionally, it may not be just the people who come and go that are causing the most significant changes in the workplace, they can also occur with the constantly advances in technology.

In a paper published in 2017, on the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine website, entitled Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce: Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here? We are told:

“Technological advances can create enormous economic and other benefits, but can also lead to significant changes for workers. IT and automation can change the way work is conducted, by augmenting or replacing workers in specific tasks. This can shift the demand for some types of human labour, eliminating some jobs and creating new ones. Information Technology and the U.S. Workforce explores the interactions between technological, economic, and societal trends and identifies possible near-term developments for work. This report emphasizes the need to understand and track these trends and develop strategies to inform, prepare for, and respond to changes in the labour market.”

If you are a part-time worker, changes can be particularly stressful, as you may not be there, when changes are implemented. On theBusiness Daily website, onMay 25, 2017, Chad Brooks considers this in a study based on surveys of 1,500 U.S. adults who were employed full or part time or were self-employed. The article is entitled Change in the Workplace Stresses Your Employees Out Most and states:

 “While employers usually enact change to improve the workplace, new research shows it can actually have the opposite effect. A study from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that organization changes, such as restructuring, budgetary modifications, new IT or human resources systems, or new leadership, can lead to employees who are overly stressed, have less trust in their employers and have a greater desire to find new jobs.

Change is quite common in most workplaces. Half of the U.S. workers surveyed have been, currently are or expect to be affected by organizational changes in the next year. Employees impacted by change are more than twice as likely to suffer from chronic stress. Specifically, 55 percent of employees experiencing recent or current change reported prolonged stress, compared to just 22 percent of those who had no recent, current or anticipated change

In addition, workers experiencing change were also four times as likely to have physical health ailments – which could be any symptom, including headaches, stiff necks, dizziness or shortness of breath – as those who didn't face any workplace changes. They also ate more and smoked cigarettes more during the workday than they did outside of work.

Mental and physical health issues aren't the only problems organizational change causes. The study found that U.S. workers who reported recent or current change were more likely to have work-life balance conflict, feel cynical and negative toward others during the workday, and have lower job satisfaction and significantly less trust in their employers.

The research also revealed that employees experiencing change are more than three times as likely to look for a new employer in the coming year compared to those with no recent, current or anticipated change. 

Change is inevitable in organizations, and when it happens, leadership often underestimates the impact those changes have on employees," said David Ballard, head of APA's Center for Organizational Excellence, in a statement, "If they damage their relationship with employees, ratchet up stress levels, and create a climate of negativity and cynicism in the process, managers can wind up undermining the very change efforts they’re trying to promote.

The research found that the negative feelings could be attributed to a level of scepticism employees have in their employer when change is enacted. Nearly 30 percent of all the workers surveyed said they believe management has a hidden agenda for instituting change, with 31 percent saying they believe employers have different motives and agendas for enacting change from what they say publicly. Additionally, 28 percent believe organizations try to cover up the real reasons for changes.”

Whether the changes that take place are short-lived, like the Chinook or having a longer-lasting impact, people react to change in varying ways. 

For some, the appearance of a Chinook is an opportunity to throw off those winter layers and embrace the warm air. For others, it can bring on a debilitating headache. 

One thing we do know, as in a change in the workplace, that Chinook is going to occur at one time or another; it’s just finding our own way to deal with it.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Every great move forward in your life begins with a leap of faith, a step into the unknown.

Brian Tracy, Speaker and Author

Running around the World – All 40,075 Kilometers

Posted by martin.parnell |

Sometimes you take a leap of faith and you have no idea where it’s going to lead. You make a decision that takes you out of your comfort zone and things are never the same again. 

This happened to me on Friday, December 20th 2002. It was a snowy day in Sudbury, Ontario and in the late afternoon I got a call from my brother Peter. After some small talk he came to the reason he called……… he wanted to challenge me to a marathon. Without hesitation I accepted and hung up. 

Now, the problem was I was 47 years old, over-weight and had never run. However, you never back-down from a challenge from a younger brother. That night I put on my tennis shoes, cotton pants, fleece top, toque and mitts and headed out. I ran one kilometer out and one kilometer back. It was terrible.

The next day I ran 2 kms out and 2 kms back and it was twice as bad. I realised I needed help so I joined the Sudbury Rocks Running club. Under the guidance of Vince Perdue and other members of the club, they taught me about what to wear, hydration, nutrition, electrolytes and pacing. My running journey had begun. 

Fast forward to 6.00pm Monday February 17th 2020 and I have just finished 15 km on the treadmill as part of my Boston 2020 training. Now, that was 17 years 59 days (6,298 days) ago and over that time I’ve covered 40,075 kms which happens to be the circumference of the earth. 

So what happened between that snowy day in Sudbury and yesterday’s treadmill run? Well, here are some of the adventures running took me on with RUNNING THE WORLD BY THE NUMBERS: 

  • 2.0 km           First run on December 20th 2002
  • 3.0 km            The Secret 3k, Global
  • 5.0 km            Footstock 5 km, Cochrane, Alberta
  • 10.0 km          Terry Fox, all over Canada
  • 12.0 km          Grim Challenge, UK
  • 16.0 km          Gorilla run, Calgary
  • 21.1 km          Ottawa Half Marathon
  • 42.2 km          Calgary Marathon
  • 42.2 km          London Marathon
  • 42.2 km          Marathon of Afghanistan
  • 48.0 km          Yukon Arctic Ultra
  • 80.0 km          Fernie Ultra
  • 82.1 km          Golden Ultra
  • 90.0 km          Comrades Marathon, South Africa
  • 100.0 km        Rarotonga Quest, Cook Islands
  • 106.0 km        Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • 126.6 km        Boston (2004, 2008, 2010)
  • 125.00 km      Canadian Death Race
  • 146.00 km      Sinister Seven Ultra
  • 160.00 km      Lost Souls Ultra
  • 193.00 km      TransRockies Stage Race
  • 1014.0 km      South West Coast of England
  • 10,550 km      Running 250 marathons in one year
  • 40,075 km     Complete Running the World on February 17th 2020 

So the first spin around the earth is done and it’s been a blast. Time to turn around and head back the other way. Who know what challenges and adventures there will be on the return journey.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.

Josh Skipp
The Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area

The Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area

Posted by martin.parnell |

Fund raising for the 2019 Year End Run / Walk for the Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area came to an end on January 31st. In total $9,250 was raised for “The Club” towards a target of $10,000. Donations came from across the community including Footstock Weekend, Downunder Travel, Rotary Club of Cochrane and Fenton Automotive. 

Also, a huge thank you goes out to the sponsors who included the Town of Cochrane, Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre, Cochrane Eagle, Cochrane Times, Ink’d Graphics, IMPACT Magazine, Cochrane Red Rock Running Club, Cochrane Library and Patsy’s Place. 

The Boys & Girls Club of Cochrane & Area (BGCCA) is a non-profit organization that serves youth and families throughout Cochrane and surrounding area for over 25 years. During critical out-of-school hours, BGCCA offers a safe space where children and youth can explore their interests, develop their strengths, and realize positive outcomes in self-expression, academics, healthy living, physical activity, mental health, and more. 

In the 2018 Annual Report, Jill Bilodeau, Executive Director, stated that “At a glance, 2018 was our biggest year in terms of growth and expansion of our locations, programs, services, and the community we serve. As promised in 2017, our club increased its capacity while continuously providing standard, quality service to our dedicated community. 

After realizing the need of the community for a dedicated youth space, and with the overwhelming support of the community - we fostered The CLUB. The CLUB symbolizes more than a hangout place - it embodies our mission to provide youth with a safe, supportive place where new opportunities, positive relationships and confidence are found. 

As the first teen space in Cochrane and area, we are devoted to providing youth with services and support such as Life Skill Workshops, LGBTQ2S+ support, musical expression, all year outreach programming, tutoring, drop-in, and of course themed parties. We are especially thankful to the community for assisting us in providing youth with an inspiring place to face some of the most difficult challenges during their vulnerable years. We are grateful for each individual and organization involved in creating a vision for The CLUB. “ 

In 2018 there were 531 visits to The Club by Cochrane and Area Youth. In 2019 this figure had jumped to 2038 visits. 

It is very clear that the job is not done and I’m very pleased to announce that the “New Year’s Eve Martin Parnell Walk / Run” will take place on Thursday December 31st 2020 at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre. It will be hosted and run by the Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and the funds raised will allow them to continue to support the local youth into the future.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run. 

 

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A good name is rather to be chosen than riches.

King Solomon

Why Choosing the Right Name will Make You more Memorable

Posted by martin.parnell |

I was browsing through the MSN UK website and came across this story about a baby rhino, born in Pembrokeshire, West Wales: The first rhino to be born in Wales is looking for a name – and the public is being asked to help. The young Eastern black rhino was born at Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo on January 16 to first-time mum Dakima after a 15-month pregnancy. 

Now staff at the zoo have asked the public for help coming up with a suitable name for the calf. In a Facebook post, they wrote: “He’s the first rhino to be born in Wales and we’re very proud of this. So, we’re after some name suggestions with a Welsh theme.  “This can either be a Welsh word or a Welsh name (we’d love to hear the meaning behind it).” Among the names being suggested were Glynn, Rhion and Llwyd, which means grey in Welsh. 

It reminded me of a blog I posted, in June 2016, entitled From Gerry to Humperdinck, it’s all in the name. The blog was all about choosing the right name for anything from a baby to the title of a book or a business. So, I’m reposting it here, for anyone who didn’t read the original: 

An item, on MSN UK, reported that a woman, in England had been banned from naming her baby daughter Cyanide. One can only imagine the problems it might have caused until the girl reached an age when she could, if she wished, opt to be called something different. On CBC Radio, recently, a lady phoned in and mentioned that she was listening along with her grandson, Beowulf.  Now, personally, I think that’s a fantastic name and, for me, conjures up an image of someone who is strong and adventurous. 

Gerry Dorsey was an English singer who, in the 1960’s couldn’t get a record deal. He changed his name to Engelbert Humperdinck and soon after was signed by Decca records. He had several top-selling hits in both the UK and the US. This got me thinking about names and how we can make judgements based on hearing them. This can apply to people, objects and businesses. 

There is a whole science devoted to choosing the right name and how to market it. Numerous articles have been written about the way the right name can quickly be adopted into our culture. It’s interesting how certain brand names become so familiar that we instinctively know what someone is talking about, when we say them e.g. Kleenex, Hoover, Jacuzzi, Thermos, Trampoline.

When the first Starbucks opened in Seattle's Pike Place Market, in 1971, it didn't sell coffee drinks, just beans. The founders considered naming it after Captain Ahab’s boat, from the novel Moby Dick, but, according to a Starbucks spokesperson, changed their mind when a friend tried out the tagline "Have a cup of Pequod." and, instead, named itafter Captain Ahab's first mate, Starbuck. 

The most difficult choices I’ve had to make, when naming anything, have been deciding on the titles of my three books and how to brand my business. I decided it would be best to create a tag line that relates to what I’m best known for, which includes completing numerous endurance events, running 250 marathons, in one year and is aligned to my promise statement i.e. “Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results.” After much deliberation I came up with the tag line ‘”Finish the Race Attitude” and the book titles MARATHON QUEST, RUNNING TO THE EDGE and THE SECRET MARATHON. 

What names strike you as “perfect” for a particular product or service? Do you use a tagline that reflects something about you or what you can deliver? Remember, it’s all in the name.

If you have a name that you think might be appropriate for that baby rhino, send your suggestion to info@folly-farm.co.uk or contact them via Facebook.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Set Goals, Overcome Obstacles and Achieve Outstanding Results” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” was released in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Health is not valued ‘til sickness comes.

Thomas Fuller - English churchman and historian.

How to Deal with Sickness in the Workplace

Posted by martin.parnell |

Recent news headlines are focussing on the corona virus, which originated in the Wuhan China. At the time of writing, 132 people are dead and more than 6,152 cases have been confirmed in mainland China and there are more than 90 confirmed cases in 19 places outside of mainland China. The World Health Organisation is monitoring the spread and we all hope that a cure can be found and, with proper action, its spread can be contained. 

In Canada, this time of year is called “flu season.” Influenza activity often begins to increase in October and November. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, and it can last as late as May. 

Now, the prospect you, or one of your workforce, being infected with the corona virus is probably pretty remote. On the other hand, many people may be susceptible to contracting flu and should take time, at home, to recover, in order to prevent the risk of contaminating colleagues. 

Unfortunately, most of us will get sick, at some time or another, whether it be due to the flu, a common cold, something more serious or we may need to take time off due to an injury. Most companies will have a sick leave policy, so that employees know what procedures to enact when they need to take sick leave. Employers should be supportive and enquire as to any support they may be able to give to a sick employee. 

So, how do you deal with the issues of sickness in the workplace? 

It’s a tricky subject, but I found a post by Gabrielle Lis, on the Return To Work Matters website entitled Top ten ways to reduce sick leave, she includes advice and provides some food for thought. Her “top ten” are as follows:

Have clear policies and procedures regarding work absence. Employees should know who to contact, how contact should be made (for example, whether text messaging, emailing or calling is appropriate) and when notification of absence must be made (for example, by 930am on the day of absence). There should also be clarity regarding requirements for medical certificates and methods for dealing with habitual absenteeism. Fairness and consistency are important. If you want people to respect the system, it has to be worthy of their respect.

Offer tangible support to those with an injury or illnessthat requires more than a day or two off work. Send a card from the whole team. Make a phone call and ask if there’s anything the organisation can do to help. Let the person know that they’re missed and appreciated. Most people feel vulnerable when they’re sick or sore and a kind word can do a world of good. Pragmatically, it is also likely to increase the person’s desire to return to work.

Switch on supervisors and managers to the most effective ways of managing and reducing sick leave. Help them understand that focusing on LTIs (lost time injury) alone will not achieve the results they want. Supervisors and managers who extend empathy, support and trust to workers tend to see better outcomes than those focused on meeting their KPIs (key performance indicators) at all costs. 

Make allowance for non-medical leave and flexible working arrangements, to enable people to balance their personal life and work without resorting to “sickies”. For example, studies have shown that sick leave rises during school holidays, when parental responsibilities compete with work responsibilities. Where appropriate, allowing parents to work from home as required during these periods can assist them to keep an eye on their kids while also ensuring the job gets done.

Have a positive working environment. People are much more likely to take a “mental health day” if they dread going to work. Happy workplaces are ones in which employees are listened to, workloads are achievable and fair, and social support is encouraged. When the workplace is a happy place, workers will want to be in it!

Address any concerns regarding job security. Workers who feel that their job is not secure tend to take more sick days than those who believe themselves to be in stable employment. Dealing with issues around job security in an honest and supportive way is the best option if their concerns are justified. If not, make sure they know it. A sense of security reduces sick leave.

Don’t let conflict fester in the workplace. Workplace conflict, including personality clashes, bullying and conflict between supervisors / managers and workers can be harmful if it is not dealt with quickly and effectively. Not only can festering conflict lead to short term absences. It can also contribute to stress claims and other psychological injuries, which tend to be complex, long-term and expensive. Actively manage conflict, and offer mediation where appropriate.

Acknowledge good work with verbal praise and / or financial rewards. No one likes to feel unappreciated. When people perform well, let them know. A person who feels engaged with their work, a person who knows them self to be valued, is less likely to take time off unless they really need it. 

Be accommodating. Sick leave karma can work for you or against you. On one hand, making modified duties available to someone temporarily unable to perform their regular duties reduces their need to take time off work. On the other hand, making a fuss about allowing someone two hours away from their desk to attend a psychologist’s appointment increases the chance that they’ll take the day off work next time rather than broach the subject again. When it comes to sick leave, you get what you give.

Don’t let breaches of your policies and procedures slide. People also need to understand that there are consequences associated with taking advantage of the system. Habitual absenteeism and other breaches should be dealt with swiftly, predictably and fairly. “

So, the most important action to take would be to have a policy in place so that all employees are aware of your company regulations with regard to sick leave and to ensure that every employee is made aware of its contents.

It’s also important to remember that, although you don’t want employees calling in sick when they are not, you don’t want them coming into work if they are genuinely ill.

Chris Fields,  an HR professional, with more than 13 years of experience as a former practitioner and current HR consultant, who has been listed by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Human Resources Experts to Follow on Twitter”,  addresses this in his article Sick but still at work? – The real cost of “Presenteesism”, on the eSkill website, March 2014. 

He writes that “Presenteeism” is when sick employees come to work: the act of being present when you probably shouldn’t be. He states that “Presenteeism may not be as honorable as you think—it has its costs.”

He goes on to write: If you search the Internet for “sick at work” or “presenteeism” you will find several articles saying that as many as 90% of employees go to work that they are sick or even contagious. Employees who are present while sick risk infecting other employees and their families, which only continues the cycle of illness and lost production. In short, presenteeism ends up costing the company more money in lost productivity than absenteeism.

So why does this really happen?

There is plenty of research reflecting the fact that sick employees cost millions in lost productivity annually. Absenteeism is such a concern that many employers do not offer leave-of-absence or time-off benefits, which means that if an employee does not show up for work, he or she will not be compensated and/or could be reprimanded. Financial statistics claim that most workers only have enough in savings to last one month. So missing work is not an option without paid leave. Other companies offer paid time off, yet their employees feel the need to show up when they’re sick anyway. All of these factors lead to presenteeism.

Articles like "Why Your Sick Co-worker Insists on Coming to Work" on CBS News suggest that the reason is two-fold. On the one hand, companies do not offer paid time off to cover illness or the amount offered does not cover the amount of time needed to recover, so employees come to work when they’re sick. The second point the article makes is that many sick employees practice presenteeism because they have deadlines that no one else in the company can handle.”

In conclusion, he suggests “Companies need to do a better job of educating their employees about the cost of presenteeism, and letting them know that it’s best to take the time they need to get better, rather than come to work and risk the health of their fellow co-workers. Ideally your employees should be able to take time off without fear of losing their job, being excluded from major projects, disciplinary action, or losing out on pay.”

Inevitably, employees will get sick or injured, from time to time, but one thing businesses can do is to promote a healthy lifestyle and mental well-being. Also, be prepared. Just because one employee is off sick, you should have ways to deal with their workload, in their absence. For further information see my blog “Flu Season – How to Sub for an Absent Employee” posted October 2016.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” will be out in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.

Marilyn Monroe

Running Shoes are like a Business - They have to be the Right Fit

Posted by martin.parnell |

Being known as someone who does a lot of running, I am occasionally asked to review running shoes, before they hit the stores. Such was the case, last week. The editor of a Calgary-based fitness magazine sent me a pair of shoes, asked me to try them out and write a review. 

After I had given them a good workout and was making notes about what I would write about them, it struck me that the points I look at, when writing a review of running shoes, could also apply to what one might consider, when setting up a business: 

  1. Are they the right size?   - I am a size 11 neutral. 

Deciding on the size to which you wish to grow your business may seem a no brainer. Doesn’t everyone want their business to grow as large as possible? Isn’t that a sign of success? Well, that may certainly be your goal, but it’s not necessarily right for everyone. The size of your business could influence many things. Ask yourself: Do you want to have the responsibility of a large premises, bigger staff/ workforce. Do you want to have to deal with the demands of a great range of customers? Maybe you would prefer to have a smaller operation, work for yourself, work from home or not want to have to deal with a number of staff. 

  1. Are they comfortable?  - When I first hold the shoes, I feel inside for ridges or rough spots in the stitching. Then I put them on and see if they are wide enough in the toe box and make sure the laces are not rubbing. 

When you are setting up a business, you need to feel comfortable in what you are offering. Do you have the right skills to cover all aspects of the business? If not, do you have the right staff to provide those skills? Do you know enough about the way to run a successful business? Have you set achievable goals? Have you secured enough funding to see you through the initial set-up period? 

  1. Is there enough support?  - Once the shoes are on my feet, I look for a certain amount of cushioning in the shoe, they need to be not too sloppy, but not too tight. What I call the Cinderella effect! 

When establishing a business, it’s a good idea to put some support mechanisms in place. These can be in various forms. For example, look at businesses similar to yours. Are they flourishing or failing and why?  Do you have a good team to cover marketing and promotion, who can deal with social media? Do you have all the equipment you need and someone to service it, if it fails? Do you have someone to help with technology, keeping it relevant and of value? Is your website current and informative? There are numerous websites that give constructive advice on setting up a business. Also, look for local business groups and attend their meetings. 

  1. Are there hot spots? - When running in new shoes, I’m always aware of any hot spots that may occur, places on the shoes that cause irritation or discomfort. 

When starting a business, it’s not always easy to foresee problems, but it’s a good idea to consider what could go wrong. One idea to help you with this is to talk to people, let them share their experiences. Ask about issues that may have arisen when they first started in business. Do they have any advice to give? Be prepared. If I have an issues with the shoes, I either pause or deal with it (maybe my socks have wrinkled or a lace has come untied) or stop altogether (nobody wants a blister form new shoes!). I’m not suggesting you give up on your idea for a business, but you may want to rethink your approach and take more time before launching yourself in to the business world. 

  1. Do they feel right? - The shoes have not only to fit well, but they have to feel right. They have to give me confidence when I’m running, put a spring in my step, not feel like a dead weight, and be right for my running gait. 

When a client considers using your business, they may be looking for a range of requirements. You have to be able to reassure them that you are “the right fit” for them. If that’s not the case, be honest. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, as that will be your downfall. Have confidence in what you have to offer. Be well prepared to deal with their enquiries. If you don’t know the answer to something, make sure you find out and get back to them straight away. Make them fully aware that you are prepared to work hard for them and have a professional approach. 

All of the above apply, not only when I’m reviewing a new make of running shoe, but also if I’m in a store buying a pair. At these times, there are two other aspects I consider. 

Price – For me, the comfort and support I get from a pair of running shoes is of utmost importance, but I also have to consider value for money. There are some pretty pricey shoes out there, but they’re not necessarily the ones for me. 

Don’t overprice the product or service you have to offer. Be prepared to be flexible if a client has budget restrictions, maybe you could offer them a repayment option or offer a consultation rather than the whole service. At the same time, don’t sell yourself short. If you value your worth, others will, too. 

Looks – What the shoes look like isn’t of great importance to me, but there’s no doubt that, when I initially approach those rows of shoes, in the sports shop, some have greater appeal than others.

Obviously you want to make your business appeal to new clients. Make sure your product or service is packaged in a way that makes it stand out. This is where social media and your website can boost your business. Ask satisfied customers to post a review. Keep current and use tools to advertise your business that provide clear, precise information on what you have to offer. 

Whether I’m out for a 10km training run or racing in the Boston Marathon, the shoes have to be right. 

It’s not the size of your business that matters, so long as it’s the right fit for the clients you wish to attract and the level of growth and success you wish to achieve.

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” will be out in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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Retire from work, but not from life.

M.K Soni My Gems

How to Embrace Retirement with a New Sense of Purpose

Posted by martin.parnell |

The New Year is a time to look to the future and many of us will be setting new goals, personally or professionally. We will look forward to the challenges they will bring, despite the trepidation we may feel. For others, it may be the year when they are looking to leave the workplace and face another kind of challenge, the one of being a retiree.

To call it a challenge, may seem like an odd turn of phrase.  To some, not having to go to work every day may have the appeal of an extended vacation, all the time in the world to do exactly as you please, not be accountable to anyone, not to have to face that daily commute.

Of course, that’s all true, but there are other aspects to retirement that should be planned for, if you want it to be beneficial to both your physical and mental well-being.

It may sound great to have all that time to do as you please and you may see it as gaining your freedom. But what about when the “holiday” feeling has passed and your days stretch before you, waiting to be filled?

What about the things you lose? You will no longer have a schedule, no colleagues to bounce ideas off, perhaps your social life is diminished or you have less money to do the things you’d like to do.

Preparing for retirement is not an easy thing to do. None of us knows how it’s going to affect us, but it is something we should all consider before that “last day” arrives.

One thing you can do is to carry on a practice you will have used in the workplace i.e. set yourself goals. This will entail using strategies such as scheduling, budgeting and time management.

Even if you have a partner, you can feel somewhat isolated, especially if they are still working or have pre-established routines, some of which may not include you.  Of course this is an opportunity to share activities, but your partner may feel this is something of an intrusion. These are things worth discussing.

If your partner is still working, his can be a bone of contention. They will still be carrying on as usual, whilst you now have your freedom from work. Be supportive, look for opportunities to help them in as many ways as you can. Are there chores you can take over? Can you help them with their work. If your partner is running a business offer to do some volunteering in that business to help out when the pressure’s on.

Speaking of volunteering. Look for ways to support your community. Volunteer for the local food bank, see if your local senior’s home could do with some help.

 I  heard a wonderful story, on CBC radio, just thetheir day, about Betty Wilson, who goes into Belvedere Park School, Calgary, every Thursday, to read with the children. Betty will be 101, next month.

Retirees can often experience a feeling of loneliness and isolation, which is not good for their mental health. Volunteering, or finding a part time job, has the added benefit of being connected to other people. 

Volunteering will provide sense of purpose a person can feel by committing to charitable causes. It’s not only going to boost your psychological well-being, but it could improve your cardiovascular health and lower the risk of hypertension, too.

Studies show that seniors who incorporate a low to medium level of volunteering in their life report more satisfaction with life and fewer symptoms of depression than those who didn’t volunteer.

There are also organisations, such as Rotary, that offer friendship, connections and the chance to get involved in projects that benefit your community.

If you have an existing hobby or find you now have the time to start one, why not look for local groups that focus on that activity. Join a class and try something new, most community libraries can tell you where to find out about these things and many will provide workshops, talks, book readings etc. and are sometimes free to attend, especially helpful if your budget is now somewhat limited.

It’s also important to keep active. Look at the opportunities around you. Explore your local area by taking walks; join your local sports center or YMCA. Dig out your swimming gear or invest in a pair of snowshoes. Look for activities that are free or inexpensive, so that you do them more regularly.

Retirement can be a challenge, if you’re not prepared. You may feel a loss of identity or self-worth. But, perhaps if you consider some of the things I’ve mentioned, it may not seem so daunting and will provide you with the opportunity to experience new thing, find a purpose and lead to many years, feeling fulfilled and happy in this new phase of your life.

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It is far better to foresee even without certainty than not to foresee at all.

Henri Poincare The Foundations of Science

Look to the Future Now so that in the Future you Succeed

Posted by martin.parnell |

It’s that time of year when many people are making predictions about the future and several business websites have made their own, with regards to what trends to look out for, in 2020. In a post for FORBES, one of their council members, Marc Emmer, President of Optimize Inc., talks about of Top 12 Business Trends For 2020, including: 

“Streaming Wars. 

What happens when four S&P 500 companies launch a product into a crowded sector at the same time? A streaming war. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the average consumer will subscribe to three to five streaming services. From my perspective, this could be bad news for Netflix, which had the first-mover advantage but is now subject to new competition from Disney+, Apple, Amazon and others.

Tech under Attack

Once the darlings of Wall Street, tech stocks are under fire. In Europe, Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google are under attack by EU regulators over privacy, and here, we're seeing some politicians propose antitrust action. In 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act will come into play, which I believe could be a preview for what is to come at the federal level. Look for more breakup talk during the presidential election. 

AI Protects the Universe

Adversarial machine learning is being used to combat cybercrime. According to a Capgemeni Research Institute study, 61% of enterprises said they are unable to detect breaches without using AI. In 2020, AI’s most important application will be to protect us from hacks. Given its extremely high cost, I predict that AI as a service will emerge as a product used by smaller companies that can’t afford it.”

 Businesses’ Role in Social Change

Perhaps at no time in history have businesses been more in tune with their responsibility to protect the environment, ensure equality and advocate for social issues. While many start-ups and social enterprises have long sought out double and triple bottom-line results, there is a sea change underfoot where more traditional businesses are seeking out their purpose beyond making a profit.”

Now these, along with his other 8 predictions, Emmer sees as being of significance during the coming year and they certainly make interesting reading. 

However, if yours is a small business, you may ask how they will apply to you.

Therefore, you might want to consider what Kalin Kassabov,CEO of ProTexting.com, has to say, in the post entitled 5 Small Business Trends to Leverage in 2020, in the Inc. This Morning newsletter, published on 27th. December 2019. Kassabov makes the point that, although every small business may be unique, “If you have a small business, it's essential to keep up with the latest trends in technology, marketing, customer service and other areas that affect your business.” This will enable you to live up to customer expectations.

Kassabov reminds us that “A customer in 2020 is likely to be someone who uses mobile devices, orders many products online, is environmentally aware, enjoys social media and reads customer reviews before making decisions. If you want these customers to choose your business, you have to understand how they think.”

So, here are his list of trends that may affect your small business, in 2020:

1. Customers prefer businesses that are green and socially responsible.

Customers are increasingly looking to patronize businesses that follow sustainable, green and socially responsible practices. As Gallup reported earlier this year, younger customers of the millennial and Gen Z generations are especially concerned about such values.

Some of the ways you can demonstrate your commitment in these areas include:

  • Use local products as much as possible. For example, restaurants and food-based businesses can source foods from local farms.
  • Minimize packaging. Stores should encourage customers to use their own bags. Use recyclable materials for packaging.
  • Use green cleaning products.
  • Patronize green vendors and services.

2. Customer reviews will be more important than ever.

Online reviews are not a new trend, but they are becoming more crucial all the time. Customers trust reviews over ads or any other content businesses create themselves. It's absolutely essential to have your business listed on sites such as Google My Business, Yelp and others that are relevant to your business.

The best way to get positive reviews is to provide great products and customer service. Beyond that, it helps to nudge your customers and gently remind them to leave reviews -- whether you do this in person or via email or social media.

3. Traditional businesses are learning to leverage e-commerce.

When you think of e-commerce, you probably think of Amazon and other online retailers. The fact is, however, that many brick-and-mortar businesses are learning to profit from the e-commerce revolution. This can be a way to expand your business without the need for more physical space. Here are a few examples of how traditional businesses can expand online.

If you have a restaurant, you might bottle your signature salsa, curry sauce or salad dressing. You could write an e-book of recipes or the history of a certain type of food. Salons can sell beauty and haircare products. A gym might sell supplements and workout gear. 

If you don't create your own product, you could sell your favorite products as an affiliate. Affiliate marketing is an option for many businesses. No matter what type of business you have, you can either sell your own products or find products on Amazon (or another platform) to sell to your customers.

4. Businesses will use mobile marketing in several creative ways.

Mobile is one trend that will surely grow in 2020 and well into the future. Small businesses can take advantage of the popularity of mobile in a number of ways. For example:

  • Use geo-targeting to provide targeted ads to customers who are close to your business. 
  • Create an app for your business. You can then send out promotions and the latest news to everyone who has the app.
  • Leverage SMS or text message marketing to stay in touch with customers. With permission, you can send texts with your latest offers.
  • Accept mobile payments. Many customers appreciate the convenience of being able to pay via mobile using platforms such as Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Visa Checkout and others. 

5. Stories and livestream will dominate social media.

If you haven't been using Facebook or Instagram stories and livestream video, you're missing a couple of the major social media trends of the last few years. On sites such as Facebook, the main challenge is getting seen by your audience.

Rather than simply posting on your news feed, share stories on Facebook and Instagram. Livestreaming on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube is a powerful tactic for more visibility and engagement. When you post this type of ephemeral content, you can connect with your audience in a spontaneous and authentic manner.

You don't need to create long presentations. The best strategy is to check in frequently and provide the latest news so you consistently touch base with your customers.”

None of us can know, with certainty which particular trends will affect us, but it’s good to have some ideas to ponder over as we enter the next decade. I hope this blog has given you something to think about. As the old saying goes, “Forewarned is forearmed”.

Wishing you all continued success in the years ahead. 

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” will be out in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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The journey of a thousand miles begins with a one step.

Lao Tzu – Chinese Philosopher
The Decade by the Numbers

The Decade by the Numbers

Posted by martin.parnell |

As 2019 comes to an end so the clock ticks over into 2020. With this comes the end of a decade: 10 years / 3652 days. It seems like a heartbeat ago that I was standing on a road outside of Cochrane, Alberta, at 9.00am on January 1st 2010 at the start line of Marathon Quest 250. 

When we arrived at Highway 1A and Horse Creek Road, a group of friends from the Cochrane Red Rock Running & Tri Club were there waiting for me. They had decided to run the first marathon with me, it was -30C and I was pleased to see that the temperature hadn't stopped them. Mayor Truper McBride and some other town councillors were also there, as were news reporters from the Cochrane Times and Eagle and crews from CTV and CBC. 

Mayor McBride said a few words and Sue took some photos. In one of them, my five running mates and I smiled madly for the camera. My friends were smiling because they had one marathon to run and were feeling excited at the start line. I was smiling because that is what you do when someone says, "Say cheese!" Even now, when I look at that photo, I remember what I was really thinking: "What the hell am I doing?" 

So let’s see what happened between then and now with “The Decade by the Numbers”: 

1 Grandchild: Matthew age 5

2 Health scares: a clot on the brain and a stroke

3 Books: Marathon Quest, Running to the Edge and The Secret Marathon

4 Film Festivals: Cinefest, Edmonton, Zonta and Calgary Underground

5 Guinness World Records in Netball, Lacrosse, Indoor Soccer, Ice and Ball Hockey

6 Afghan women and girls running the 2016 Marathon of Afghanistan

10 Year end Events: Right To Play, a Playground, Free to Run and Boys & Girls Club

16 Minutes in TEDx YYC “Life is a Relay” presentation.

17 Countries participated in The Secret Marathon 3k in 2019

19 Minutes in “The Ageless Athlete” documentary

21 Hours to climb Mount Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet)

64 Years old on December 19th 2019

77 Minutes in “The Secret Marathon” documentary

250 Marathons run in one year

1,014 Kilometres run along the coast of England in 25 days

27,340 Children given the gift of hope from the $1.3m raised for Right To Play.

28,218 Kilometres run in 10 years (7.73 kms / day) 

As the next decade begins I’m looking ahead to see what’s coming next. On April 20th I’m running the Boston Marathon so it’s time to crank up the training program. This means heading out on a new journey, one step at a time. 

About the Author

Martin Parnell is the Best-Selling author of MARATHON QUEST and RUNNING TO THE EDGE and his final book in the Marathon Trilogy, THE SECRET MARATHON-Empowering women and girls in Afghanistan through sport, was released on October 30th 2018. He speaks on having a “Finish the Race Attitude – Overcoming Obstacles to Achieve Your Full Potential” and has written for, or been covered by CNNBBCCBCThe Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, Runners World, Men’s Journal, Canadian Business, and Maclean’s.

In a five year period, from 2010 to 2014, Martin completed 10 extreme endurance “Quests” including running 250 marathons in one year and raising $1.3m for the humanitarian organization Right To Play. In 2016 he ran the Marathon of Afghanistan in support of Afghan women and girls running for equality and his film “The Secret Marathon” will be out in late 2019. Find out more about Martin at www.martinparnell.com  and see what he can do for you in the long run.

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