This article is the result of something extraordinary that happened on the weekend of the 27th of May. If you don't know what happened, where have you been?! It was InnerFight's own Into The Darkness, a grueling 50km bike, 50km run, and 50km bike through the night. A huge number of the InnerFight community attended with various versions of the challenge, and dare I say, even more people attended to support them!
As if 12 hours through the night wasn't enough, the community regrouped at InnerFight's end-of-season social the next day. This brings me to the awards ceremony, where the shared smiles and laughs resonate with me massively. It was the visual manifestation of our mission statement; making people better at life through endurance.
This visual epitome of what our endurance community is all about made me think about how to articulate just how unique and powerful it is. Take a step back from the daily routine and see what InnerFight Endurance truly offers.
What does the community mean?
A community is the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common. Well, that seems quite apparent. InnerFight Endurance is made of a group of individuals who all share a want to better themselves in endurance. As a given, support and encouragement is ample from each coach, all with unique methods. What is so special is the amount of support and encouragement given to each other, from fellow athletes to their friends and family, to little ones and even pets! Each individual respects and takes ownership of the InnerFight brand values.
The athletes and awards night, what was it showing us?
The award nominations were chosen by the coaches, with the winners selected through a vote. We weren't always looking for the best one-off performance or the biggest PB. We looked at those who demonstrated the most consistency, the best attitude, overcoming adversity, and lifting themselves and others around them. Results alone do not define success. This selection process defines us as a community. Every single one of the winners was cheered and congratulated like it was an Olympic Gold Medal. I think everyone understood the reasons behind why each person had won.
It would be amiss not to mention what I believe to be the biggest addition to the awards this year, the community award. An individual celebrated for everything they bring to the community, whose actions deemed the award necessary. Affectionately dubbed the 'Jeff award,' the winner organised and supported the community so much, day in, day out, throughout the year. I want to highlight that he provided a weekly iftar for Muslim and non-muslim individuals during Ramadan, providing a platform for the community to gather and celebrate this special time. He asked for nothing in return, and he chose to act like this because he, like so many others within the InnerFight community, looked beyond their ambitions to impact the lives of others positively.
The coaches, how do we go beyond the program?
When individuals invest in InnerFight for coaching, they get a personalised program, race planning, and execution, nutritional and equipment support, direct contact whenever they need help, and access to our community. What is rarely highlighted is the support beyond the training we give. Why do more than necessary, or the bare minimum? Many examples of programs of equal cost seem to deliver less and certainly support less. I suppose it is because we all genuinely care about helping people reach their goals. We can see the benefits of nurturing an athlete's journey beyond reaching a goal and making them better at life through endurance. Rather than jumping from one goal to the next, the process of driving progress outweighs the finish line results.
As a group of coaches, we offer unique and individual approaches, each with different experiences and backgrounds. Our drive to improve and weekly catch-ups for goal setting, feedback, and personal development unite us. The want drives us to help our athletes reach their full potential.
How does the wider community provide the best support network?
This is the last thing that struck me about the whole weekend was the wider support. As the sun was setting, the rollout for ITD this year was something else. We were a force to be reckoned with, each individual representing the community we hold dear. Whether you completed a version of this challenge or took up your entire weekend to support someone who did, I want to thank you for making me so proud to be a part of this community. It was incredible to see.
So what is the secret ingredient?
The addition of ego is not tolerated within our community. Success is always celebrated, and failure is never laughed at. We understand that sometimes not winning is the necessary step to success. It is not about you as soon as your session is over; it is about us.
I hope this article has helped you see what we value and how it brings us together as a community. Your decision to act and behave a certain way defines you and us.
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If you want to swim faster on race day, it’s no secret you’ve got to swim fast in training.
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