Blind Marathoner Exemplifies Grace And Gratitude

It goes without saying that a competition called Tough Mudder is going to be pretty difficult. The endurance event, founded in 2010, throws a number of hair-raising obstacles at participants throughout its 10–12-mile course, many of which play on primal human fears (heights) and discomforts (ice-cold water).

Obviously, doing something so demanding and inspiring takes great physical conditioning, but more than that, it takes a very strong will to succeed and overcome, especially if you’re completing it blind.

You read that right: not trying, not attempting, but completing. Randy Pierce, who unexpectedly lost his eyesight as a result of a neurological disorder at age 22, became part of the 10 percent of participants to complete the event last April, adding another physical feat to a résumé that’d look impressive even if he did have use of his eyes.

Check out this write-up on Randy, and prepare to be impressed: Tough Mudder, Boston Marathon runner, summiter of every mountain in New Hampshire — all this after losing his sight and being wheelchair-bound for several years following the disorder. Thanks to Randy’s never-say-quit attitude and internal fire, he serves as an inspiration for anyone trying to accomplish anything in the face of large setbacks or obstacles. Randy helps us remember four of the most empowering words any human being can utter: “I can do this.”

His story puts things in perspective: While we may or may not have to deal with problems on the level that Randy has faced, we all most certainly will encounter setbacks that alter our plans and the way we do things — or even our whole lives. And though one person facing bigger challenges doesn’t make another person’s difficulties unimportant, looking at a person like Randy Pierce makes it easier to believe in ourselves.

Of course, the source of a person’s motivation is just as important as the motivation itself, and after reading about Randy for a while, it became clear that his secret comes down to another empowering feeling: gratitude.

“I’m out climbing mountains and running marathons,” Randy said. “How can I not want to celebrate the fortune I have in life?”

That, after all, is the best way to approach problems and challenges: not by comparing and cataloging negatives but by looking at the positives and reminding ourselves that we do have things worth being grateful for, worth getting up in the morning and facing the day for.

Or, in Randy’s case, things to participate in extreme physical challenges for. Even if you’re not interested in endurance challenges or scaling mountains, you can still use the power of gratitude and human tenacity to complete your goals. Whatever you do, whatever you want to do, harness that internal fire gratefully, because people like Randy Pierce are doing so every single day.

Image source: Bigstock