Project Triple8: The Epilogue - So What Have We Come Away With?"

In my 1st Blog about the Triple 8 challenge I used the term “Prologue” as the means to ‘intro’ this  potentially foolhardy undertaking. In the preceding chapters I hope that I have given you some insights into the joy and delights of being part of this amazing journey along with the benefits of “biting off more than you can chew” and “jumping in the deep end”.

In closing off this final edition of the story, I’d like to use the term “Epilogue” to conclude it or in modern day speak to give you its ‘outro’ ;-) This will serve as a final chapter revealing the fates of the stories principle characters and to reveal what we are going to be doing next and doing differently. I’ll also attempt to wrap up a few loose ends too and give you the general direction and aspirations as to where and how we see Project Triple8 continuing as a V2.0 sequel as it were. 

For those of you who appreciate some brevity versus the comprehensive “kitchen sink/chapter & verse” style of my previous chapters I’m attempting to adapt my style a little and summarise in bullet point format for you…

The Team… (in order of appearance…)


          Has resumed her “day job” after catching up on her sleep of organising exciting and interesting 
       outdoor events where she and her friends/clients can “Live More”.

          In case you haven’t worked it out yet, she continues to be the most important thing in my life as   
       well and we continue exploring and stretching ourselves as soul/life, as well as work, partners.

          And finally, for those of you that are interested, I’m the happiest Fella alive and feel blessed with 
       her decision. As well as, forever grateful, for what is, if I’m honest, an incredibly courageous 
       decision on her part.


          Has gone back to his “day jobs” of being a brilliantly thoughtful husband to Angela, an attentive 
       and dedicated Father to Ava, a gifted and inspiring teacher of music and occasional blogger.

Awei Awei, En Lin & Joon Bing…

          Continue as the well trained and disciplined Mountain Goats of the team. So much so that En Lin 
       went on to capture his age group crown at the recent Vietnam Mountain Marathon in Sapa. As he 
        says Sapa did not sap him thanks in part too our adventure through the night to Cameron.

Jim Willis…

          Has temporarily suspended his Team Entertainer role while he recovers from a Double Hernia 
       Operation. Thankfully he didn’t, he assures me, pick this up whilst pacing me to CP5 in Gua 
       Musang. While waiting for the op though he was still able to also go to Sapa and win his age 
       group at the Vietnam Mountain Marathon which you can read all about HERE. And people call 
       me a "machine"!

Chun How…

          Has picked up where he left of as a personal trainer and is working on plan to break his 
       Malaysian record for being a Hamster by running round a 400m running track for 24 hours 
       demonstrating the man’s amazing strength of mind.

Chris Dalton…

          Has completed yet another Ironman in Italy in a PB time and a week later did the Chicago 
       Marathon. In between time he has also resumed his full time dedicated and accomplished 
       roles as a Husband, Father and CEO of a local Oil & Gas business.

Pak Kai Xian aka Kasper…

          Has resumed his studies and hopefully his biking and running too as like so many other young 
       men of his age in this country he has a natural ability that could see him pushing for a SEA 
       Games slot in the Triathlon one of these fine days and with his love for the dirt follow Shahrom 
       Abdullah as Malaysia’s few Xterra (off-road Triathlon) Professionals ;-)

The Summit Seeking Sherpa…

As well as returning to my “day jobs” of facilitating the development of leadership skills and techniques and coaching individuals and teams to achieve peak performance and helping Elsa develop and grow Live More Events, thanks to the time that Project Triple8 gave me to reflect, I’m also going to be focusing on the following activity related goals…

          For Q4 of this year, whilst keeping my hand in on a number of ultra distance events, I am 
       returning to focus my physical activities/training on the off-road genre of racing e.g. Cross (X) 
       Triathlon/Duathlons & Xterra and to resume work on my speed and power with regular and short 
       track and hill sessions.

          For Q1 & Q2 of next year I will seek to recapture the Xterra Asia Pacific Age Group Champion’s 
       title that I have held for the past 2 years and attempt by Q4 to capture the title of “Grandmaster” 
       in the Asia Trail Master series of events.

          Finally, I will be back with hopefully the same team but a refined approach to defend our Coast 2 
       Coast title and to better our unofficial world record by going sub 144 hours.

What’s next for Project Triple 8…

          When spoke earlier about Project Triple 8 V2.0 we seriously intend to be back to do this 
        challenge again and, more importantly, not just do it faster but to do it bigger and better in terms 
        of the funds we want it to raise.

          To add to it’s complexities we intend to find a way to add a 888 metre swim to the challenge. For 
       next year this will be at the end of the challenge so that we reverse the traditional format from a 
       Triathlon to a Run, Bike, Swim.

          We are working on a plan to collaborate with our friends at Endurance Nature (the Organisers of 
        the Coast 2 Coast run element of the Challenge) to make their run (which will always be the 
        main event in our eyes) like a “Comrades” run in Africa. This will see it be reversed each year 
        and that you are not considered a fully fledged Coast 2 Coast runner until you have done it “both 
        ways”. Assuming this approach is adopted this will give us the ability to also organise our Triple 
        8 Challenge in a similar manner where on alternative years there is a Swim, Bike, Run format 
        and on other years there is a Run, Bike, Swim format. Allowing us to also create a reverse 
        option to attract people back for at least a second year as well ;-)

          Rather than just us doing this ourselves we want to evolve the Triple 8 Challenge into a 
       randonneuring event. We are seeing already AUDAX type cycling events cropping up in 
       Malaysia and we have plans to turn Project Triple 8 into a randonnée or a brevet type format 
       where other participants join us and pay a nominal "entry fee" that goes towards the good causes 
       that we seek to contribute towards.

          We might not be officially sanctioned by the Audax Club Parisien (ACP), the default world 
       governing body of randonneuring events because technically an AUDAX event just involves a 
        long bike ride. However, we do believe that Project Triple 8 can certainly be accepted as part of 
        the “international family” of such events as it fits the main criteria e.g. distance in excess of 
        200km, a defined course that needs to be completed within specific time limits, the ability for 
        participants to travel alone or in groups, the need to be self sufficient between the Checkpoints 
        and the fact that all participants receive equal recognition regardless of their finishing order.

          If we are able to achieve this we believe (further research is needed to confirm this) that we will 
       achieve another global first by being the being the first randonneuring Triathlon in the world.

Usually for all other endurance events that I have participated in, when I’ve reached the finish line I have immediately done what most other people do after they finish. They say intuitively and  instinctively “Right, I don’t need to do that again, do I!” The “do I” question, is of course a rhetorical one as it’s real meaning is a statement of fact and opinion.

It’s only later on, usually several weeks, possibly months later, once the aches and pains have subsided and have been forgotten about when we are usually goaded on by a few testosterone induced Mates over several pints of beer on a Boy’s Night Out that we agree to do another one and we sign up for another Ironman or something even crazier like The Norseman or The Barkley Marathons on condition that they do too!

However, most of the above ideas about the future plans for us and hopefully others in future versions of  Project Triple8 bizarrely came about without any alcohol and before we even crossed the finish line which in my eyes is testimony to the real and sincere feelings of affection that were created from making this journey together and the massive sense of fulfilment we were all getting from making the journey rather than achieving the challenge.

In the process I have been reminded of some great “Live More” life lessons. I share them below in the hope that they can resonate with you as strongly as they do for me now…

Lesson 1: We’ve heard the words “enjoy the ‘ride’ rather than the destination” many times I’m sure but do we really do it?

Lesson 2: Doing the tough stuff together bonds and connects you to others like nothing else.

Lesson 3: Having goals and aspirations that others laugh at is a good thing. It’s not that you necessarily want to have “the last laugh” but if they think you are foolhardy, crazy, insane etc. then that’s a sure fire way of knowing that when you achieve what you’re aiming for then you’ll be putting a “ding in the universe” that has some real ‘Zing’ and which will actually really mean something!

This certainly proved the case when we set out to do this challenge. As others might have thought we were being “too ambitious”, “risking future mobility” or just trying to do something that was “laughably insane”. In fact there’s no ‘might have’ they actually did say these words. That’s why I’ve put them in inverted commas! In fairness it’s understandable “given your age” isn’t it!

Many others I’m sure were also laughing (hopefully in a sympathetic rather than derogatory way ;-) at us behind our backs for daring to think that something so unlikely could be possible as well. In fact, in fairness to these doubters, I don’t mind admitting myself that at times I doubted myself too.

These are the times when having a ‘esprit d’corps’ (team spirit) comes into it’s own. For us this was quite brilliantly led in my, completely bias, opinion by Elsa, who in spite of my doubts, never stopped believing in the possibility of us doing this. Thanks to her infectious enthusiasm she helped convince everyone in the team that “we’ve got this” and the support and belief that they gave me inspired me and dissipated the self doubt that, in my weaker moments, I had.

As Chris McDougall articulates in his book “Natural Born Heroes” (the follow up to his bestselling “Born to Run” book) there are a breed of people who come from the most diverse and most unlikely set of backgrounds and stereotypes that with the right belief systems and with the help of natural movement, extraordinary endurance, and efficient nutrition can become real heroes.

When we ordinarily think of heroes we usually visualise them as either a Marvel 'like' character or someone whose path is paved with gold and who are born with the proverbial “silver spoon” in their mouth in terms of their attributes and assets.

This perception is totally inaccurate though as even the most privileged of inventors, explorers and thought leaders that have helped shape the world to the wonderful one that we all live in today have had their journey clogged up with naysayers, uncertainty and struggles.

McDougall defines a hero as someone who doesn’t set out to be described or perceived as a hero. Instead, they start from very ordinary and unlikely places and along the way they discover a calling for adventure and decide to commit to it irrespective at who laughs at them.

Whilst I certainly don’t consider ourselves as heroes in the traditional sense of the word or like the characters in McDougall’s book. I do realise and am very proud of the fact that Project Triple 8, now it’s been completed, is considered by some as “heroic” and it’s reminded me that if you want too “put a ding” in your “universe” a great measure of it being like Steve Job's defy notion of a “ding” is to check to see that there are people out there that ridicule and laugh at your idea/goal/destination in some way.

Food for thought I hope when you are thinking about your dreams and aspirations. Hopefully, you might decide in these that you want to come join us next year and share similar experiences. If you do keep following our Facebook page here to find out how you can participate in V2.0. Whatever you decide to do though I hope that these words can help you dream on and Live More.

Please feel free too to connect with me wither to give me your feedback and thoughts (particularly developmental bits for me to focus and improve on so that I can be a better me ;-).

Thanks for reading.

The Summit Seeking Sherpa


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