Running Toward the Impossible Dream

Athlete hiking in the Sahara, standing at top of a sand dune with arms over head

There is nothing special about me. In my 48 years on the planet, I have no sporting badges or trophies of merit from my younger days. I am Joe Ordinary. So, let us begin and hopefully some sparks will fly, and you may find, as I did, your ordinary self doing something ‘extra’ ordinary.

Athlete at top of a sand dune with arms raised triumphantly over head.

The Marathon Des Sable (MDS) has been called the ‘World’s toughest foot race’—six marathons in seven days, being self-sufficient, carrying all your kit and food for the seven days through the Sahara, for most, would put the fear of God in them—so why am I standing on the start line of this, the 34th MDS? There are a couple people I could hold to account for this: Joseph Campbell who wrote that we should ‘Follow our Bliss,’ George Kinder when he reminds us to live ‘on purpose’ and to dig for the treasures that we all have buried inside of us, or a much over looked screenwriter, who in 1976 wrote a film that was to become a friend of mine. That same writer also said, ‘I may not be the tallest, fastest or prettiest, but I just want to take a shot at it and then I’ll know’. The film was called Rocky, eponymously written and played by Sylvester Stallone.

Everyone loves the story of the underdog, the ‘Hero’s Journey’ as Campbell has framed it. You know the tale, someone living a life but knowing that inside them there is more. So, too, did I feel that there is something, some act that has not been done, a box that is unchecked, unfinished business that I have to get done, to live with intention and get closer to what fulfilled might look like for me. So, I arrive in the desert armed only with my alter ego ‘Rocky’ and a whole backpack full of expedition foods and my vision. My vision to do The Marathon Des Sables, not for me but for my four kids, to show them that anything is possible; for my clients to believe that it is doable, to help as many people as I can on the way; and for my friends, to borrow from Coldplay, we really are ‘diamonds taking shape’—we all have greatness inside us.

But hold on, hold on, I hear you say as the obstacles start talking to you, “you must be able to train a lot and I don’t have time for that” (for lots of reasons I couldn’t train a lot), or “I am too old” (the oldest competitor was 83, with many 60- and 70-year-olds taking part), or “my knees” or the like. I saw two athletes with prosthetic limbs not only start MDS but rip it up, and there was a blind chap too, yes, you read that right. So, your reasons for why you couldn’t possibly ever do anything like 150 miles through the desert have been silenced by those who have come before you and took that road ‘less travelled’. Please understand I am not recruiting for The Marathon Des Sable, this is just a story of how something that seems impossible has been made possible and has been done by some 30,000 people who got through, over, under, or around their obstacles. So, if you have something you want to do in your life, do it, don’t wait. The Red Hot Chili Peppers tell us that ‘This life is more than just a readthrough.’

What is your Marathon of the sand? What is that thing that you have buried as ‘life’ gets in the way? Will you look at the time past as a big insurmountable desert, impossible to cross with all your baggage, or make your time count and use it to find your buried treasure in the sand? You already know where your X marks the spot, go to that island where you cleverly buried it and have since come up with lots of reasons not to visit that secret island again. Please get out your treasure maps, go get your treasure whatever it is, wherever it is, yes the journey may be arduous and you can talk yourself out if it easily, but this is your call to action, suit up and go do that thing you just have got to do. It’s ready and waiting for you. “Maktub” as some say across the finishing here in Morocco, ‘It is written.’

Michael Bibb, RLP®, Co-Founder & Financial Life Planner.
Michael Bibb, DIPpfs, is the Financial Planner at CarpeDiem Financial and has more than 20 years of Financial Services experience, directly linked to fulfilling customer’s financial goals. He’s a father of four, almost knocking in the door of 50 and hearing that voice saying: ‘Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light’. He learned to do the front crawl stroke three years ago and now is taking on his sixth half Ironman and fourth full Ironman this summer. Michael says, “I want my clients to have their most interesting life – I am duty bound to do the same.” Find out more about Michael and CarpeDiem Financial at

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