That's me on an early training run in Byron Bay when I weighed over 100 kg.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Final Tally = $186, 659.74

This says it all:

Team Amnesty Australia

Thank you once again everyone, your support has been truly amazing. Please know that somewhere, someone is benefiting directly from your generosity and kindness. 

Alvaro Acevedo
Andy Firman
Anita Pollard
Anonymous X 7
Barbara Magee
Beauchamp Hotel
Bertin Sorgenfrey
Chris Harnett
Claude Bereny
Click Click Marketing
Colin Vucak
Crossing Family Lawyers
Dalim Software
Dan Bowen
Dan Collingbourne
David Payne
Donations via coin boxes around town
Elizabeth Hall
Elizabeth Robinson
Francine O'brien
Gabrielle Small
Gary McGrath
Gavin Costello
Gill Lister
Gillian Johnston
Hamish Black
Huong Nghia Peter Lu
Ian Gilmour
Ivan Jelic
Jane Heynes
Jennifer Lamb Massage
Jessica Sartini
Joe's Boxing Sydney
John Dobbin
Johnnie McDonald
Jonathan Dickson
Jonathan Kidd
Jörg Steeg
Justin Davies
Karen Hennlich
Kerryn Barton
Kurt Zinc
Lainey Gilmour
Leanne Gibbs
Lisa Fryar
Look Print / PosterCandy
Lyndal Smith
Mason Trouchet
MaX Fulcher
Merci Cafe
Michael Dray
Michael Herringe
Moheb Moses
Monika Majoros
Natasha Putnins
Niclas Westling
North Plains
Phil Sutherland
Richard Larsen
Richard Tucker
Rizk Hairdressers
Rob Armstrong
Robert Fisher
Samantha Gill
Sandra Gill
Sanjith Mohan
Sean Murphy
Selina Brendish
Steve Annear
Tanya Baini
The Database Dept
The Little Marionette
Tom Beckenham
Tony Spencer
Transfirmation Partners
Tristan Hanlon

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thank you dear sponsors

My Heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported my Running For Rights project. It was a great success. Our small team raised over $185,000 for Amnesty.  I completed the marathon without stopping, totally barefoot, in 4:35 hours, which, although no record-breaker, was well under my target of 5 hours. A full report is included here for those who are interested. 

Thank you once again for your very kind donations and support. Amnesty International's work is as important as ever right now. For those who wanted to donate but haven't got around to it yet, the page is open until November 30. It would be so wonderful to exceed my personal $9,000 target.

All the best,
John Dobbin

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My pain is nothing, compared to theirs

Blow Out at 4km
This year I have trained very hard in attempt of my first marathon. I am also running to raise money for Amnesty International, an organisation I have been involved with since the 80's. The hardest part was dealing with the pain of transitioning to barefoot running. What kept me going was the thought that whatever pain I felt was insignificant compared to the pain suffered every day by those I am trying to help.

I made the transition to barefoot running as a strategy to continue training. Before ditching my expensive running shoes, debilitating knee pain prevented me running more than 4 or 5 kilometres — a long way short of the 42 km needed for a marathon. As soon as I ditched the shoes, the knee pain disappeared and longer training runs became possible.

However, a new problem arose: extremely sore soles. The literature advised transitioning to barefoot slowly, starting with 100 meters then gradually increasing the distance. To keep up with the distances in my training plan, I bought some Xeros which are very basic sandals that allow for barefoot-style running while offering some protection. They work well, but it’s much better to run completely barefoot, there is better biomechanical feedback and cadence and pace is higher. I decided to try to force a more rapid adaption of my soles than advised and went straight into 6, 7 and 8 kilometre barefoot runs on bitumen. It was at times extremely painful. Large blisters formed but I forced myself to continue running on them.

Whenever my raw feet and blisters screamed at me to stop, I would think about the cause and the people that I am trying to help. People who are thrown into prison indefinitely for simply expressing their belief, people who are routinely tortured, women who are repeatability beaten and flogged for simply being women, refugees who are abandoned without hope

I ran on and on. My pain was nothing compared to theirs.

Contributions to Amnesty can be made here. Every dollar helps.

Originally published in Medium

Friday, September 27, 2013

And now for something completely different ...

Help me to raise $15,000 for Amnesty International by November 3rd 2013 and I will:

  • Run the New York Marathon barefoot
  • Tattoo the Amnesty logo onto my foot

I'm completely serious. I'm putting skin in the game. 

How you can help:

1. Toss a few bucks in yourself, it takes 30 seconds and you get a tax deductible receipt plus your name up in lights for the whole world to see.

2. Whip a hat around the office -- "hey, there's this crazy Ozzie getting a candle and barbed wire tattooed on his foot, chuck in a couple of bucks..."

3. Shout a round for Amnesty. Just one beer round money in here instead.

4. Ask your contacts to donate five bucks. If you encourage just 10 twitter/facebook/LinkedIn followers to donate, and they encourage 10 others, and they in turn encourage 10 more then this is the math: 10 x 10 x 10 x $5 = $5,000. And if the average donation is just ten bucks, then ...

5. Ask your company to donate. $250 buys a small logo on my marathon shirt, $500 a large one. I'm pretty sure the video of my tattoo will go viral, providing a great return on investment!

6. Let your local media know. They are always looking for a different ankle. 

7. Other ways? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Mental 'Videos'

I am currently in Perth and entering my final six weeks of training before the big day. 

This was my running track this morning: City Beach to Trigg and back -- 13.4 km. It was probably the toughest training session I've done yet. 

Running on soft sand, in 20 km/h winds and through waist-deep surf surges was really hard. While I knew I had the fitness to complete the run, my brain just wanted me to stop and walk whenever I hit a difficult spot. I am finding such psychological barriers more difficult to overcome than physical barriers at the moment. 

To get through the run I employed a technique of playing mental 'videos' -- an internal vision of a perfect training run -- whenever my motivation waned. It worked really well. As soon as I 'played the video' my entire body relaxed, especially the shoulders, and I felt physically lighter. The running became less difficult, even if I increased the pace. It was quite amazing and I completed the run in good time.

That old adage, 'it's all in the mind', may indeed be true.