Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

John Adams, Founding Father who served as the second president of the United States, from 1797 to 1801
When you Write, you Have to get it Right

When you Write, you Have to get it Right

Posted by martin.parnell |

On Sunday, December 1st, I attended a screening of The Secret Marathon film, at the wonderful, old, Globe cinema, in Calgary. 

The film documents my trip to Afghanistan, in 2016, to run a marathon, in support of women and girls who are determined to have the freedom to run, in a country where their participation in sports is still, in most areas, forbidden. It was a wonderful evening; the film had to be shown on both screens, simultaneously, as there was such a huge demand for tickets. Thank you to all those who attended. 

Just prior to the event, I received a message asking me if I would be travelling from Edmonton, to attend. Also, at the venue, someone commented to my wife that they hadn’t realised we had moved to Edmonton. We had not and remain in Cochrane, just outside of Calgary, where we have lived for the past 14 years. 

All became clear when I read the Program Guide, which states that I am an “Edmonton – based marathon runner”. It reminded me of the of the film’s premier, at Cinefest, in Sudbury, Ontario. When the list of films to be shown was first released, it named ours as The Silent Marathon. We quickly got that rectified. 

Now you may think that, in the grand scale of things, neither of these issues are of great importance. But, over the years, I have had many articles written about me and it’s surprising how often statements are made that are inaccurate e.g. my age, where I’m from, dates of events, names of organisations for whom I’m fundraising and what they do etc. 

So, I asked myself, how is it that facts can be stated inaccurately, so many times? 

In my mind, it is the job of the author of the piece to do the checking. If you are writing about a particular person, contact them and ask them for details or, even better, send them a copy of what you have written in order to check the facts, before it goes to print. 

The same applies if you are writing about a company or any other issue. Contact someone in the know and get your facts right. When I write, I make every effort to do this. This is also one of the reasons why it is so important to give a credit to the author when you are quoting from someone else. Not only is it good practice to give them an acknowledgement for their work, but, if they have stated a fact inaccurately, it’s their responsibility, not yours. 

When you’ve finished writing about anything, why not try this simple tongue-twister to remind yourself: 

                 “Check your facts, before the fact-checker checks.” 

There are many articles written on the subject of fact checking and “fake news” and how, in extreme cases, it can ruin reputations, smear companies etc.  But, on a personal level, when I have read a piece and found it to be inaccurate, it makes me wonder about other work by the same author. 

Get it right and people will trust what you have to say.

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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Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.

Muhammad Ali
The Ageless Athlete-Age is Just a Number

The Ageless Athlete-Age is Just a Number

Posted by martin.parnell |

In the fall of 2017 I was reflecting on my year of running and it had been a tough one.  It had started off in late May with the Calgary Marathon 150km ultra. This was to celebrate Canada’s Confederation and I could see no better way to celebrate than to run multiple loops around downtown Calgary.  

The race started at 6.00am under the Olympic Arch at Eau Claire Market and things went well for the first six 10-km loops but, as darkness fell, I started to feel cramping in my calves. Running at night is very different from running during the day. The light played tricks with my eyes and time seemed to speed up. I kept going but, try as I might, when I hit the 95-km mark I knew I had run out of time. I was really disappointed. I had not finished, but in the end, I was just happy to head home. 

The following weeks I licked my wounds but decided to sign up for another race, the Golden Ultra in September. My coaching buddy Malc Kent had tracked my running parameters in the Calgary Marathon and he wanted to do the same at this race. The Golden Ultra was a three stage event which included a 1km mountain climb, a 60km mountain trail and a 21.1 forest route. I finished all three stages inside the cut off times but only barely. 

I realized that I had reached a cross road in my running. I was getting slower and slower and it wouldn’t be long before making any of the ultra-cut-off times would be challenging. 

I had a decision to make. Either I quit and take up another sport (Pickle ball?) or try and figure out how to shake up my running. I decided to give running one more shot and came up with a personal goal unlike any other. In 2003, at the age of 47, I had set personal bests times for the 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon. Fifteen years later, in 2018, at the age of 62, I decided to attempt to beat those times. I called this challenge “62 beats 47”. 

To help me take on this challenge I partnered with my running specialist buddy Malc Kent and together we embarked on a journey to see if we could turn back the running clock. Can an old athlete use the latest training methods and techniques and regain his former speed?  “The Ageless Athlete” tells a story of how age is just a number. That we should not be constrained by what society tells us and that no matter what the outcome the human spirit will prevail. 

On Wednesday, December 11th check out the TELUS Original documentary “The Ageless Athlete” on Facebook and YouTube.

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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Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.

John F. Kennedy
Martin Parnell’s 10th and Final Run Walk

Martin Parnell’s 10th and Final Run Walk

Posted by martin.parnell |

All good things must come to an end and so it is with my 10th and final run / walk on December 31st

Looking back, it was on Dec. 31st 2010 that I completed my 250th marathon of that year. Marathon Quest 250 was in support of the humanitarian organization Right To Play (RTP), raising $322,000 and giving the gift of hope to over 6,000 vulnerable children around the world. 

On that day, a group of us lined up outside The Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre and at 9.00am the gun went off. The route was “out and back”, along the Bow river and turning around at the old trestle bridge. The temperature was -27C but that didn’t stop hundreds of participant running distances from 2kms to 50kms. 

That was the start of the Annual Dec. 31st Run / Walk at the Sports Centre. From 2011 to 2014, the year-end events were in support of RTP but with the completion of the “Quest for Kids” initiative (10 Quests, 5 years, to raise $1m for RTP) I decided to support another deserving cause. In 2015 funds were raised for the “Sue and Martin Parnell Playground” built for Boma Africa in the village of Mto wa Mbu in Tanzania. Not only was a playground provided but also a giant bouncy castle, and classroom resources for the Lindsay Kimmett Kindergarten. 

The 2016, 2017 and 2018 year end events were in support of Free To Run, an organization that uses adventure sports to develop female leaders in regions of conflict. Funds raised from those three years allowed Afghan women and girls to enjoy kayaking, camping, figure skating and ice hockey for the very first time. 

Over the years there have been a number of highlights and lowlights. The highlights include the 62kms run by Ellie Greenwood over the 6hr event day in 2012, the running streak set by Hiro Watanabe from Edmonton who has run 50km every year and the support of hundreds of boys and girls, parents and grandparents who have come out and completed the 2km Cookie run at the end of each event. The one lowlight was in 2018 when the temperature hit -48C. On that day a number of us ran the loop however it was reported in the Calgary Herald that the penguins at the Calgary Zoo had to be kept inside because it was too cold. 

Finally to 2019 and the Dec. 31st, 10th and final year end run / walk and this time we’re bringing it home. We decided to support a local organisation and one that has always been close to my heart is The Boys and Girls Club of Cochrane and Area. All of the funds collected from the run will go towards operations and programing at the CLUB. The CLUB is a youth exclusive division of the Boys & Girls Club, which provides teens a fun, safe space to hang out, do homework or seek support. 

So save the date: Tuesday, December 31st 2019 at the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre. Come on down between 8.30am and 3.00pm. Run / walk the 2km loop to 50km, it’s up to you. Registration is on the day with a donation at the event. If you can’t make it and what to help then click on: www.martinparnell.com and hit the big red “DONATE” button. 

This event is for everyone and you may even see a penguin.

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.

Read More