- Name: Hard Belfast
- Race location: Titanic Slipway Belfast
- Date: 28th August 2021- 29th August 2021
- Race start: 9am 28th
- Race finish: 9am 29th
- Sign up here
How Hard came to be.
Hi my name is Mark Gallagher (Hard Race Director) ……………. I know you have never heard of me. Hard came to be after a personal journey of searching for purpose and self-discovery.
I like many others in the modern world felt myself letting life completely pass me by and not taking care of myself and living a very comfortable and sedentary lifestyle.
An elite athlete in a past life, full of energy and determination and focus. I woke up one day in my 30’s with all the trappings of modern life, a wide screen tv, a car, a fridge full of junk with man boobs and 36” waist (Sucking myself into them). My current life had me so far removed from my former self, I was unrecognizable when I looked at myself in the mirror.
My journey started by saying enough was enough, the person looking back at me in the mirror was not me and I was going to make changes for the better. So like so many before me keen for change I put on a pair of trainers and went for a run.It Was Hard.
0.8 miles of Hard to be exact (It was supposed to be 3miles) resulting IN ME DOUBLED OVER IN TWO AND loosing the contents of my stomach.But it was a start.
I committed to change, constantly putting Hard challenges in my path. Close to 1 year after my 0.8 mile “detox run” I found myself having completed some pretty difficult challenges:
- 1 sprint Triathlon
- 1 Marathon
- 2 70.3 Ironman Triathlons
- 1 Full Iron Distance Extreme Triathlon
All these challenges where tough in their own right but yet I had completed them. This 30 something, somewhat “kinda” in shape, dad of two with commitments and a full time job. They were tough but I didn’t find my limits ME Mark gallagher I was able to do them.
I still hadn’t found what I was looking for, still no clarity, still no sense of purpose and still very much lost.
Que “DAVID GOGGINS”, for those who do not know David Goggins is by far the Hardest amongst the super Hard tough guys in the world, the “Patron Saint of the Hard B***ARDS” if you will.
Totting an impressive resume of completing 3 Navy Seal Hell Weeks with a 12 month period. He is the only man ever to have completed the US Navy Seal Training, United States Air Force TACP and US Army Ranger school. He also held the world record for the most Pull-ups in 24 Hours (4020 to be exact).
So all in all this man is Hard and has put himself in some of the toughest challenges in the world. I had listened to “Goggins” book on repeat all through my training and the one stand out story was this 24 hour he had entered having no place entering a 24 hour race in the first place. He talked about how he was physically destroyed, beyond what he had perceived as his limits, yet he managed to open up another door in his mind that allowed him to tap into this amazing world on the other side of suffering. Not only did he finish his race but he managed to do so at a blistering pace for the last 30 miles.“Could this be what I am looking for, is this the path I am supposed to follow?”
I asked myself.
The thought had entered my mind, this was the hardest path I could take meaning that there was no decision to be made, I HAD TO RUN AN ULTRA.
The next step was to commit to some races. I booked my place at the Atlas 24 hour at Victoria Park Belfast as a warm up to the Connemara 100 in August. I then got to work clocking mile after mile after mile after mile, whole heartedly committing myself to the process.
DON DON DAH ...
The year 2020 had most definitely threw a spanner in the works.
Races where cancelling, being rescheduled and put on hold until further notice.
I had thousands of miles clocked up in my legs and had nowhere to see if I had what it takes to run an ultra.“Or Did I?”
Taking total inspiration from Goggins, I gave myself 5 days’ notice, to plan, prepare and co-ordinate my very own “Homemade Ultra” with myself being the only runner in the field.
With lockdown restrictions in full force this was going to be tight. So, I measured a 0.1 mile stretch of footpath in front of my house, erected a Gazebo in my front garden, wheeled around my BBQ and a deck chair and established race HQ for the 24-Hour event.
I was off, cruising through mile after mile, running through the night feeling my body and mind slowly deteriorate to that of rigor mortis. 60 miles in to the run, in total pain and at my perceived limits, I have never had such clarity in all my life.
All the distractions and noise and very unimportant important things did not enter into my thoughts.I simple was faced with two questions:
Do I Stop?
Do I Keep Going?
By all rational measures and 32 years’ worth of default settings and experience told me I should stop. But at that moment, all the training miles, marathons, triathlons, failed training runs, snooze buttons, 4am starts, Hard work and 62 Miles in 17 Hours had led me to this door in my mind.
Once I was their, there was no decision for me to make. I opened the door on the Hardest Path of the road less travelled and found myself experiencing what it’s like on the other side of suffering. Everything thrown at me on that path was just the cost of entry to get me to that door.Only the Truly Hard Can Open It.
This is why Hard Races came to be and this is why we offer you the opportunity to see if you are Hard enough to get to the other side of suffering.
Why attempt anything hard?
Because if it wasn’t hard then it wasn’t worth it.
Breaking it down, why on earth would you want to put yourself through something that is very difficult to achieve. Where there is a strong possibility of failure, where you will need to put your body and mind through so much discomfort and pain and hardship.
- The reason why is because it is the cost of entry to discovering just how hard you really are.
- The human body and mind are capable of extraordinary things and when working in-sync with each other there is no path, mountain, sea or barrier that you can not overcome.
- You are relentless, you are strong, you are of indomitable spirit, you are a solid piece of granite my friend. You are Hard.