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Champion Attitude makes a Champion

Learning from Adrian – Champion

I want to share an inspiring story. Our client, champion runner and Wishart parkrun Race Director Adrian Royce just completed another marathon – one of many but his first in Borneo, Malaysia. This had been a long-term goal of his, with the intention to beat his personal best time of 2 hours and 50 mins. Needless to say Adrian is no beginner.

The biggest hurdle he was going to face was the heat and humidity. The race started at 3 am with the temperature already at 29 degrees C. Over the previous 6 months, Adrian had completed numerous techniques and conditioning to help with cooling his core temp while running.

The race started so well, with Adrian unexpectedly leading the whole race. His time splits were tracking him on his greatest race and time ever … until the 24 km mark where he started to get cramping in his hamstring. This then developed into a significant problem and the pain meant he had to physically stop.

With every passing runner he saw his best race turn into his worst disappointment. All of his dreams were slowly disappearing. His lead was gone, his PB was not possible, he had significant pain and his hamstring wasn’t not letting up. Six months of training wasted. You could completely understand if he just gave up and walked off … for the sake of his health and reducing further injury, of course.

This was his moment to make a decision. Checking in with himself, Adrian felt okay except for the leg. So he focussed on the immediate problem, not over thinking on the negatives or thinking too far in the future. He started working out the cramping with stretching and hydration. After 15 minutes, his calf started working better and he was able to walk to a jog and then back to a run.

Now getting some rhythm going, Adrian then started to think about resetting his goal. He did not think about what he had missed out on but focused on what he could achieve based on the new circumstances. He could not remember anyone in his age group had passed him while his leg was cramping. So could he still do well in his age group? Yes! This was good enough and his mind was set!

Over the next hour, the hamstring still continued to dog Adrian but he took on the challenge, one step at a time, with plenty of water and stretching. I am sure finishing was such a relief, physically and mentally. With his time of 3:15 (almost 25 mins more than his original intention), he finished 2nd in his age group and 7th overall. A fantastic result!

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It wasn’t until later that Adrian started to understand the enormity of his achievement and was able to celebrate his success. He looks back at this race with pride; it was one of his most satisfying races ever.  It was not the end result or time, but how he overcame adversity, which really mattered the most. This race will never be on Adrian’s bio with his best times, but it will always be one of the most successful and satisfying moments in his racing journey. He truly showed a champion attitude.

So what are the lessons that we can learn? Here are some of the mine:

  • When hit with a setback, focus on the immediate problem.
  • Be in the moment.
  • Don’t let our disappointment get the better of us.
  • Don’t think too far ahead; take one step at a time.
  • Never give up.
  • Don’t use excuses.
  • Celebrate your successes.

How do we translate that in our normal lives?  I see so many people on their weight loss journey, their race, give up with one bad meal or one bad result. Given a setback, they find it difficult to reset their goals. They focus on the wrong things and continue to focus on their disappointment. Sometimes they will sabotage their whole day and take weeks to recover. Or just have stories why it did not work for them.

It does take significant effort, and you will face disappointments. But focus on moving forward, one step at a time, and work on the immediate struggle/problem. Celebrate your successes, whatever they are. This is the attitude of champions. You will get amazing results … although it may not be exactly what you pictured at the start.

The most important point to understand is that it takes a champion attitude first to get a great result and not a great result to make a champion.

Go out and run your marathon.

A champion attitude makes a champion.

P.S. A Facebook post for a local Malaysian man about his race on Adrian’s newsfeed: “Having failed miserably thrice due to cramps, I am happy to complete this very challenging marathon route in a time of 3:25:42.66. The men’s veteran full marathon 1st runner-up  Adrian Royce completed in 3:15:27.08, although he has a PB of 2:50. So this is definitely not a fast course, but more like a trail run in terms of elevation.”

P.P.S. Three days after the marathon when I was talking to Adrian, he had already set his next race, and the time goal. He had visualised how he would feel at the finishing line having achieved his new personal best. He also created a training plan. So the dream, the goal and the plan are already in place. Champion Attitude, Adrian.

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champion runner



  1. Agreed – it takes some real dedication.


  1. […] Borneo Marathon that I had to write an article of his experience and his champion attitude. Read it here.  Keep up the great work Adrian, you inspire so […]

  2. […] Borneo Marathon that I had to write an article of his experience and his champion attitude. Read it here.  Keep up the great work Adrian, you inspire so […]

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