Following My Heart Awakened My Dream

I was a mere 10 years old when I got the call that my grandfather was in hospital with collapsed lungs, a result of pneumonia. The stubborn World War II veteran was sitting in his house for a few days freezing his buns off. I was blessed to make it in time to squeeze his hands and look into his kind eyes as he said but a few resonating words to me “Sweetheart you could make the Olympics.”

Now, as a dreamy 10 year old and lover of athletics, I of course entertained the idea…for all of ten minutes. But those words and his absolute belief in me has never left my subconscious. Throughout my very full, exciting, and interesting life I have occasionally pondered, ‘I wonder if I could have made the Olympics?’

How old am I? 36! Now such a thought is to be expected from an 80 year old. I am but 36 years young and there is an Olympics on the horizon. Dare to dream…

As a dreamer and believer that we can achieve anything we put our mind to, I say why not? But let’s take one step at a time and look at how I am even talking of such a thing. It goes a little like this…

I found a purpose, a love, and an ability. I had desire, determination and belief.

Some of you know that as a tribute to my miraculous daughter and the nine special people who donated blood to help save her life, I pledged last year to run a 100 km ultra-marathon to raise awareness for the need of blood donors.

The run took place on June 9th this year in the Gold Coast, Australia. Like the majority of things I commit to in my life, I gave it my all. I thought, ‘If I am going to do this, I will do it to the best of my ability. I will endeavor to enjoy it and to make a difference.”

I had plenty of motivation; everyday looking at my gorgeous daughter coupled with the wonderful opportunity to demonstrate to both of my children what dedication, hard work and belief can achieve at any age. In order to be an example that anything is possible, you must dream big and continue to stretch yourself.

The race contesters at the start line were all relaxed, mostly seasoned ultra-runners. I was feeling pretty excited. Almost a year since making the decision and six months of training, I felt as ready as I could be. I had my nutrition planned, my tunes sorted, and a time in mind.

As with all of my races I have but a few key goals:

1. To smile from start to finish

2. Be the best I can be on the day itself

How was it? Amazing!!! The last 12 km were of course the toughest, and the last 3 km absolutely grueling. I repeated my mantra over and over and over with the odd ‘you have done it and never have to do this again!’ Hahahahaha! It was all worth it knowing my little Bella-angel would be there to meet me at the finish line.

However, when I high-tapped it across the finish line grinning with relief, I was also met with the words; “Wahooo! You’ve just run a qualifying time for the Australian Squad!”

‘WHAT?!’ (grin, giggle, choke, ouch, errrrm, wow, ahh!) I thought, ‘Oh, so I may be doing that again?’ I did a head scratch, stumbled 150 meters toward the ocean and fell in, thinking, ‘Don’t drown, just breathe… aaaaghhhh what, really??? Seriously, the Australian ULTRA-running team?? Hello, someone pinch me!’ How did that happen???

This defining time in my life has currently placed me in history books as the fastest ever Australian Female in the 50 mile road race and ranked number me as number10 in the 100km.

Mind blowing! I am in awe to have achieved such accolades through a journey outside myself and in honour of those who gave blood to help save my daughters life. It was a huge motivator and blessing to have my 6 and 2 year old waiting to greet me at the finish line. Gratitude.

What does this mean? It means my pledge to continue to spread the need for blood donors goes global. I am to be competing with the Australian Ultra-running team at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar November 2nd 2014. This is to involve another 100 km slog over unknown terrain, most likely including desert and camels.

It means on April 13 I will be running the Canberra 50km World Cup Qualifier. Have a dream go big, go bold, go past your fears and open up to a life of limitlessness.

It means my story is growing as is my purpose in this life of having a voice and using it to inspire and move others to action and reach their highest potential.

What an honour!! I know it is not the Olympics, but it is a massive stepping stone. Unfortunately, the Olympics does not have an Ultra running event, but it does have the marathon!

My current athletic goal is ultra-running but in the infamous words of Confucius, “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

Running the 2016 Olympics is not such a far reach. Grandpa, I trust you and Dad are smiling down from the heavens and will be the wind that aids my flight.

Dare to dream big, drown out the humdrum noise of others, and never give up.


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About the Author | Kerrie Otto de Grancy

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