My personal resilience test, by Gary Cole - Archipelo
April 19th 2019 | Welcome, growing your people, building your business

My personal resilience test, by Gary Cole

My personal resilience test, by Gary Cole

“It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to. You would cry too if it happened to you” (to the tune of the 80s track)


I’m injured and I’m pissed off. So before sharing something birthday related on my Facebook Timeline, can I ask you to spend 60 secs reading this instead?

Let me explain …

A lot of you will be aware that I’m running the London marathon in April with Nicole ‘Nicky’ Fuller John Cole and John Baskott to raise money for Macmillan Cancer, in memory of my mum who died last November. After 4 months of training, a fair bit of sacrifice and a lot of dogged grit to run when I’ve felt regularly floored by acute low mood (I’m loathe to say depressed, because I’m lucky to escape that) – I’ve suffered a serious injury to my left leg. It’s either a stress fracture or severe tendon strain, but I can’t hop on my left leg, walking hurts like hell and I’ve been advised to take 6 weeks off running with only really 9 weeks left to train.

To say it has taken the wind out of my sails is a bit of an understatement.

My good pal Hamish White has given me some excellent swimming tips and this is now my Plan B – hit the pool and swim with a float in front of me. What fun. This does mean I’ll be very underprepared to run the full 26 miles, but I’ll walk the last few miles if I have to and I have 7 hour limit to do just that. I do however, have to face the real possibility that I might be advised to not run the marathon this year because of increasing the injury and causing long term damage. This isn’t doing much for my mental strength or desire to swim with a damn float and I’m humble enough to share that. This all gets a bit emotional of course as some of the last few words my mum shared with me were literally; “I’m honoured and proud you are all doing this for me”. This then, is a very bitter pill to swallow.

So happy bloody birthday to me. If only I could momentarily go back to last year, be 42 again, be chubby (…ier) again and have a much needed cuddle with my mum again :-(

But then again.


“You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”
So says the philosopher that is Bob Marley.


Whenever I hear that naysayer, negative little bastard whisper in my head, I just remember this stunning little quote which reminds me of who I am and who my mum was and in fact, who she still is within me. This mental zeal got me through the horrific phase of watching mum disintegrate in front of us last year. It made my dad a hero again in my eyes and it will get me through now whether I run the marathon – or not. It’s simply a human thing, beyond ego thing, most definitely not a clever dick thing and also not a tough guy thing. This is the ‘inner reservoir’ I referred to in my mum’s eulogy for those who heard it. It’s nice to know it’s there, especially when the chips are down. Even cooler when they’re not. It’s always so nice to know that. Most people are just very good at ignoring it or not even seeing it. Sometimes you see it and sometimes you don’t. Me included.

As my good friend and work colleague Professor Damian Hughes often says; “There is no such thing as motivation or demotivation, only choice. The next choice”. On that basis, I’ll enjoy boiled eggs and soldiers with Jane and the kids when they surface shortly before heading to work a little late. Nice one. My birthday seems reclaimed already. I’ll worry about swimming with a float on Friday …

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, I am deeply grateful and every pound has genuinely touched me. If you’d like to sponsor me today, now would be as good a time as any.


Find out more:
https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Gary-Cole10