He was born without a left foot and was herded from one relative to another as a child, because of his disability. He was also not allowed to participate in National Service because of the same reason.
These are some of the experiences of the Singapore Blade Runner, whose real name is Mohammad Shariff Abdullah Peters Christopher. But despite his many difficulties and struggles, Shariff never gave up. Today, the 45-year-old is a powerful motivational speaker and a well-known amputee athlete in Singapore. He first picked up running when he saw a video of the South African double amputee sprinter, Oscar Pistorius.
In a motivational talk which he gave last Saturday at a Home Team NS function room in Balestier, Shariff shared some strategies for clarity and mental resilience – to successfully conquer your dreams. He calls this the DREAM strategy.
Here are the main highlights of the Singapore Blade Runner’s talk.
According to Shariff, determination is a positive emotion that involves perseverance in wanting to achieve your goal.
For this runner, his latest goal is the 2015 Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon, dubbed as the most adventurous trail run in the world. This takes place on May 29 this year and Shariff is determined to make it to the starting line. So he is training hard towards reaching this goal, and part of his training session includes an expedition to Mount Kinabalu.
The Singapore Blade Runner said that resilience is certainly not about going through life without experiencing grief, sadness or difficulties – but rather, it is about how you are able to pull through those challenges in life. He says that the negative experiences will shape you into who you are today.
Shariff faced many challenges during his own early days, such as not having a safe, comfortable home to grow up in, as well as not having a left foot and using an expensive prosthetic blade when he took up running – which has plenty of different challenges, compared to doing it with two good legs. However, he was resilient enough to pull through every single one of these and didn’t give up, to get to where he is today in life.
According to the Singapore Blade Runner, envision is all about the visualisation of future possibilities.
He envisions the upcoming Mount Kinabalu expedition next week, to be a future possibility. For this event, he has put together a small team, comprising of complete strangers from all walks of life, to train together and complete the climb in unison. This resembles future possibilities because it has bonded all these people together, and the prospects for the upcoming expedition, which starts on March 14, are therefore very exciting.
According to Shariff, achievements are small goals that have been successfully reached en route to a longer term goal, depending on the individual’s dreams and circumstances.
One achievement of Shariff’s was that he successfully conquered his demons in 2014, when he completed the Boston Marathon. He had been at the 2013 event, which was bombed when he was about 800 metres from the finishing line. Since that incident, he had dreamt of returning to conquer his demons and completing the race. The following year, in 2014, he achieved just that – and so this marked a significant achievement and milestone in his life.
The Singapore Blade Runner said that mission is the long term goal that you are trying to achieve.
For him, this is currently the Everest Marathon dream, which is his long-term goal. This dream had started in early 2009 because he had wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, who had worked as a climber. So Shariff wanted to take up climbing himself. But he faced numerous setbacks along the way, such as people laughing at him because they could not believe that he was actually going to achieve it. Also, his medical doctor had refused to give him the go-ahead at one stage, thus shelving his dream temporarily.
Said Shariff, “I just want to follow my passion, to go ahead and do it. In this way, I won’t have regrets later on.”
Today, Shariff’s dream of conquering Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world, is no longer being shelved. He is going to achieve it this year, as his way of marking Singapore’s 50th anniversary. And while he has been working hard to raise the $20,000 funds that he requires to achieve this mission, he realises that the climb is going to be far from easy, with his prosthetic leg and all.
To find out more about Shariff’s Everest Marathon quest and/or to donate to his cause, take a look at his website at: http://www.sgbladerunner.com/everest-2015.html
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- Interview with the Singapore Blade Runner
- Singapore Blade Runner Returns to Site of Boston Bombings
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