Every now and then, you come across a story that just blows your mind or warms your heart. I truly cannot imagine doing some of the things listed below. If you ever feel your motivation dwindling, just bring up this list as a reminder of what human beings can do. Enjoy.
1. Dick Hoyt – Wonder Dad.
Ever since Dick's son, Rick, was born, doctors had been telling him to institutionalize his son. His son was born with cerebral palsy, and they tried to explain to Dick that he'd never amount to anything more than a vegetable. Dick refused to give up on his son, and with the help of a computer, he taught him how to communicate. It turned out that Rick was quite intelligent indeed. Inspired by an article on racing he saw in a magazine, Rick later asked his dad to take him running. Dick, now 37 years old, had never been a runner. He gave it a shot and took his son out in his wheelchair and pushed him while he ran. The rest, as they say, is history. Rick told his dad that when they were running, it didn't feel like he was disabled anymore. Dick became obsessed with giving his son that feeling of normalcy, and ever since has been participating in as many races as he could. As of 2013, they've completed over 1,000 races together; Rick being pulled, pushed, or carried by Dick in all of them. Unbelievably, nearly 250 of the races have been triathlons (6 of them Ironmans), 70 of them were marathons (30 of them the Boston Marathon), and over 200 of them 10km runs. Best dad in the world? I think so.
2. Jean Beliveau – Walks Around the Planet for Children.
On August 18, 2000 in Montreal, Canada, Jean decided he was going to walk. How far you ask? Well, only across the whole world. It's been 11 years, and so far he's walked 68,000 of his planned 75,000km. His trek, designed to promote “peace and non-violence for the profit of the children of the world”, has taken him across 64 countries thus far. His Journey is also in support of the United Nation proclamation that the decade of 2001-2011 will be a decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World. You can find out more about his cause here: http://wwwalk.org/en/
3. Roger Appsopp – Oldest Man to Swim the English Channel.
At 70 years old, this retiree wasn't quite ready to hang up his towel. That is, not until he used it to wash the cold salt water of the English Channel off his body. He decided he wanted to brace the elements and attempt to swim from England to France, a 21 nautical mile swim. To put that in a terms a little bit easier to relate to, that's 1544 laps of a normal length 25 metre swimming pool. Now, this has been done by people before, but not by someone his age. In August 2011, he made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest person to ever successfully swim across the channel, with a time of 17 hours and 51 minutes. He dedicated his swim to the cancer research charity Hope for Guernsey in an effort to help them raise money needed for vital medical equipment.
4. Wim “Iceman” Hof – Climbed Mt. Everest (… In his Shorts).
This guy really blows our minds. He holds 20 Guinness World Records for withstanding extreme cold. He swam under the ice at the North Pole for a world record breaking 80 meters in nothing more than a standard swim suit. He holds the record for the worlds longest ice bath, spending a whopping 1 hour and 13 minutes submerged in nothing but ice. He's completed a full marathon North of the Arctic circle, again, in nothing more than shorts. This isn't enough for you? How about this. He's climbed both Mount Everest and Kilimanjaro in nothing more than a pair of shorts and sandals (yes, that's ONLY shorts and sandals). Not only that, but Wim is quoted as saying it was “easy”. How is that even possible? My brain has exploded. People have climbed Everest with the warmest clothing known to man and have still died of hypothermia. Scientists have been so startled by Wim's abilities that they decided to turn him into a lab rat and find out what exactly allows him to do all this. Turns out he's actually developed an ability to control his autonomic nervous system and immune response through concentration and meditation. To be clear, that means he literally stops his body from developing its usual response to cold just by telling it to. Unfortunately for you and I, researchers tell us that this ability it completely unique to him and that there is no way for anyone to learn this superpower.
5. Mark Covert – Ran Everyday for 16,437 Days (Without Missing a Single Day).
This is a different kind of endurance feat. Mark Covert has been running, at least a mile a day, since 1968. Over that time, he's logged 151,00 miles. That averages a little over9 miles a day if you were wondering. He ran rain or shine, through travel plans and illness, and never let fatigue or injury hold him back. That's dedication if I've ever seen it. He ended his streak voluntarily on July 23rd, 2013 at the ripe age of 62, exactly 45 years after he started running.
6. Terry Fox – Ran Across Canada While Fighting Cancer (and Without a Leg).
Terry Fox is a Canadian legend. In 1977, at the age of 19, he had his right leg amputated after a diagnosis of osteosarcoma. Three years later, after being angered at how little money was dedicated to cancer research, he decided he wanted to Run across Canada in an effort to increase cancer awareness. Dubbed the Marathon of Hope, Fox started in St. Johns, Newfoundland and planned out a route across the country that would take him to Victoria, British Columbia. He began his journey with little fanfare, but by the time he reached Ontario he had become a national star, with over 1000 corporations pledging 2$ per mile. He met then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau along his route, as well as the likes of Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr. As Terry approached Thunder Bay, he suffered an intense bout of coughing and severe pains in his chest. He was immediately taken to the nearest hospital where it was discovered that his cancer had returned and had spread to his lungs. A tearful press conference brought his cross Canada journey to an end after 143 days and 5,373km. Fox hoped that he would one day get to finish what he started but sadly passed away on June 28, 1981. Terry's plight received support and prayers from Pope John Paul II, and inspired Rod Stewart to write the song “Never Give Up on a Dream” in his honour. Since his death, the Marathon of Hope has turned into a yearly event in over 60 countries and is now the largest one-day cancer fundraiser in the world. To date, over $500,000,000 has been raised in Terry's name.
7. Fauja Singh – Ran a Marathon Over the Age of 100 (that's 26.2 miles, or 42 km long).
When you think of running a marathon, does it scare you? Do you think you could last the full 26 miles? Do you feel too old, too lazy, too out of shape? Hold that thought while we talk about Fauja Singh. Fauja Singh took to running seriously when he was 89, after he lost his wife and witnessed his eldest son die in a construction accident. The following year, he took part in his first race when he completed the London Marathon, and later rose to fame when he broke the world record in the 90+ age category on the same course in 6 hours and 54 minutes. As if this wasn't enough, Singh smashed his previous record while running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon with a whopping time of 5 hours and 40 minutes. To this day he holds the worlds fastest marathon time for the over 90 category. At the age of 100, he broke 8 world records for his age group, including the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, the mile, the 3000m, and the 5000m. As if that wasn't enough, he did all this in one day. In 2011, he also become the first person over the age of 100 to complete a marathon when he finished the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in just over 8 hours. When asked how he does it he said, “The first 20 miles are not difficult. As for the last six miles, I run while talking to God.”
8. Dean Karnazes – Real Life Energizer Bunny. He Just Keeps Going and Going.
It was early on an August morning in 1992. Dean Karnazes found himself drunk at a bar after celebrating his 30th birthday. Unhappy with the corporate life he found himself in, he stumbled home. He was about to slip his key in the door and head in for the night when an old pair of sneakers caught his eye. For some reason that not even he can explain, he put them on and just started running. Pantless and sobered up, he realized what he was doing 15 miles later. It was cool and dewy outside Santa Cruz, and suddenly it struck him. He had an untapped potential in him. It was now over 30 miles since he left his house when he finally called his wife. When she found him an hour later in a parking lot, he had a beaming smile on his face. From that moment on, Karnazes has sought to break every endurance record known to man. Some of the things he's attempted are certifiably crazy. He's covered 350 miles over three days (and no, he didn't stop to sleep). He's completed a marathon around the South Pole. He's ran from Disneyland (in Los Angeles) to New York City in 75 days, and most impressively, he's completed 50 marathons, in 50 different states, over 50 consecutive days. On top of all this, he's never suffered a single injury.
9. Herbert Nitsch – Should have starred in ‘The Abyss'.
He's been dubbed as the “Deepest man on Earth”. Herbert Nitsch is a freediving champion that holds an unmatched 31 official world records. The most impressive one is called the No-Limits record. The No-Limit competition allows participants to use a weighted sled to descend as far as possible without the aid of an oxygen tank. Amazingly, Nitsch made it to a depth of 214m before dropping the sled and making his way to the surface. Later, in what many believe to be the classic free-diving event, he dived unassisted (that is, without a weighted sled) to a depth of 112m, beating the previous record by 3m.
10. Bette ‘Supergran' Calman – More Flexible than your Grandma (and probably you, too).
Betty is 87, and she's more flexible than a rubber band. She's been faithfully devoted to Yoga for over 40 years, teaching it to others along the way. Calman says that she's proof that if you keep at it, you'll achieve great things. She can do more with her body today than she could 50 years ago. She's mastered the hardest moves around, and makes them look downright easy. No write up can really do her justice, you need to see the pictures to believe it. Do you know an incredible human being who deserves to be on this list? Let us know in the comment section below – they might make the cut!