A Step Too Far

Today, I’m going to change things up a bit. Over the past 15 years or so, I have read a few books on health, fitness and motivation. Maybe that is just a bit of an understatement. Most have ended up in the bin, never to be read again. A complete waste of my time that I will never get back. So each month, I will talk about a book I have read. One which is for whatever reason, a great book to read, full of great information that I believe is worth its weight in gold. Some will be nutrition based, others running stories, while some will just be a great story about chasing your dreams no matter what hurdles are put in your way.

So here is the first one, it’s called 50 Shades Of Grey.

Actually, that may not be too appropriate here and just for the record, no I haven’t read it! The one I really want to talk about is “A Step Too Far” by Peter Bland. Peter is an Aussie adventurer who lives in Macedon, about an hour north of Melbourne. His passion is Antarctica. Whether it be kayaking, climbing, hiking or just trying to do something no one else has managed to do, with his life still intact, he just loves it!

I actually met Peter a few years back at a seminar where he was one of the keynote speakers. A very down to earth man, his story is just so inspiring, it nearly had me jumping out of my chair ready to get out on my own adventures. You see, we all have limitations we put on ourselves in life, some justified, others just an excuse. After reading his story about how he went through major heart surgery to fix a damaged aorta and a year later becoming the first Australian to reach both magnetic poles.

But this is only part of the whole Peter Bland story. The book is partly about how he grew up, his family, his work, his wife and his kids. But the real guts of the story is more to do with the name of the book. A Step Too Far.

This part of the story is based around Peter and his fellow adventurer Andy Watson. They tried to become the first men to walk/climb across the Arctic Peninsula which is a stretch of land extending out from Antarctica towards South America. The terrain is basically massive mountains and huge crevasses. There is a reason no one had achieved this. It was just far too dangerous for any sane person to attempt. But Peter being the adventurer he is didn’t let that get in his way.

A couple of days in, the two managed to get over the highest point on the peninsula and were descending down the other side when they decided to set up camp for the night. Being such steep terrain, covered in ice, avalanches were quite common. Given the fact that they were in the middle of a blizzard, the chances of one happening were even greater. Peter decided to head out of the tent to secure the kayaks which held their supplies so they weren’t taken in the wind.

It was a few minutes later, Andy started thinking Peter should be back by now. He stuck his head out of the tent, only to see a huge gouge in the snow where the kayaks had been. Peter was nowhere in sight. An avalanche had taken him, dumping him 40 meters down a crevasse with injuries including a fractured skull, dislocated hip, fractured bones in his feet and broken ribs. His chances of survival were not good.

I won’t spoil the rest of this amazing story for you by a true Australian adventuring legend. But I suggest you beg, borrow or steal to get your hands on a copy of this book. You won’t regret it! Nor will you ever have any excuses to stop you achieving your goals!

Run Well

Chris O’Driscoll

 

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