The short version: This year I ran quite a bit.

The aside: I’m taking part in a run fundraising for the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, feel free to support the cause here.

The long version: I was always the fat asthmatic kid at high school. It wasn’t until I left school and discovered cycling that I started to get a little bit fit. Over the past five or 10 years as I’ve increased my business travel, running has been my regular physical activity – I can do it anywhere, it doesn’t need much gear and it’s a great way to see the world.

In 2013, my buddy Vaughan Rowsell decided his big goal for the year was to run 1000km. That sounded like a pretty cool idea to me so I decided to do that as well, with one difference, I also wanted to complete at least one run per week of at least a half marathon distance (21.1km or 13mi). I ended up meeting that goal and New Years Eve saw me run my 52nd half marathon distance.

When 2014 rolled around I needed a new goal and over time decided on two big goals (“big” being a relative term, it’s not like I ran across America or up Mt Everest or anything) – I wanted to run at least 3000km in the calendar year and also to average at least ten runs a month over the half marathon distance figure – my aim was for 120 runs over 21.1km in the year.

And I made it! Thanks to some fine folks who came out on runs with me (Viv, Yonni and Omri at home, Jason, Bill, Merrill, Vanessa and Dave abroad) I met my target. 122 runs of at least 21.1km and a bunch of shorter runs that took my annual tally to just shy of 3240km – the most I’v ever done in a year. Thanks also to the various folks who helped motivate me – Fraser, Kowsik, Mal et al.

I’ve done a few races – clocked up some pretty fast runs (a sub 90 minute off road half marathon and a 39 minute 10km) and even got my face in the newspaper on my quest. But more importantly than some random distance or speed goal, which has no meaning to anyone apart from me, is the fact that I’m hopefully giving my kids a bit of inspiration. My dad was an older father, and not a particularly active one at that. I never remember doing any real physical activities with him – this year Yonni and Omri have hiked, run, biked, fished and hunted with me, and hopefully they’ve seen that even an old dude can still remain active.

I’d love others to maybe get a little bit motivated by my year of running – I was never a runner, I was an overweight, asthmatic kid and motivation has never been my strong point. But the cool thing about exercise is that it’s self-perpetuating – the more you do it, the easier it is and the more you want to do it.

So that’s my year, all that’s left now is to decide upon 2015’s goals. I don’t think just simply upping the mileage is a goer – so I’ll be looking to doing longer runs (lots of inspiration from Caroline who has done an amazing job of becoming a long distance runner in a short space of time) and lots of off-road running.

Either way – I’m looking forward to seeing my next year of adventures – maybe I’ll see you out on the road or trail!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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