December 08, 2010

Man of the Year, 2010

The calendar is close enough to its terminal date to make the announcement of the first annual Being Manly Man of the Year. The decision process has been entirely personal and wholly undemocratic, but still it is more reliable than FIFA. The award, which conveys as much honour as its recipient would care to mention, comes with no formal prize. Nevertheless, the winner’s name will adorn this website for as long as it lasts, and I trust that the links to his endeavours will do him, and his causes, some good.

So, without further ado, the Being Manly Man of the Year is Australia’s own crazy runner, Tristan Miller, or ‘T-Bone’, if you will. Mr. Miller was implicitly introduced to you back in September, after I had met him on the Montreal Marathon course. I have followed his exploits on an almost daily basis since then, and can safely say that his is a rare spirit. A man of character if ever there was one, Mr. Miller is, at this moment, on the southern tip of Chile, preparing for a flight to Antarctica to run his 51st marathon this year, with one more to complete the set following shortly afterwards in Melbourne, Australia. 52 marathons in 52 weeks! The feat is superhuman, and has taken him to races on every continent. From a physical point of view alone, this is extraordinary, as anyone who has run 26 miles once will tell you. Then there is the mental factor : to remain focused and motivated, and to put mind over matter, through pain and illness, day after day, week after week, all in the name of seeing the extent of human possibilities – all this makes me believe Mr. Miller to be a man of singular strength of mind.

You will not need to know ‘T-Bone’ for long to catch his infectious humanity. I shared a meagre eight miles with the man, and can safely say it was the easiest eight miles of that race. Thereafter he sped away, as is his wont. Mr. Miller runs his marathons generally in the range of three to three-and-a-half hours. Sometimes he does that on consecutive days. With flu. If one wasn’t convinced, through personal association, of his flesh-and-blood constitution and his vivacious spirit, one might suspect him of being mechanical.

Although so much of Mr. Miller’s endeavour has been personal – a voyage into his own unknown – and a deeply moving individual story, he has never lost sight of things bigger than himself. In his mining of the limits of what it is to be a human being, he has helped us all to an understanding of our collective humanity, and of the social injustices that abide in this world. He has never stopped campaigning for those of us inspired by his exploits to donate to one of two charities – Facing Africa and Unicef – and he gives a very good account of why we should.

There is a nobility in his cause, and an old-fashioned sense of adventure in his swashbuckling run around the globe. Join me in wishing him well for the last two races, and salute your Being Manly Man of the Year 2010!

Mr. Miller’s website: Run Like Crazy
Mr. Miller on Facebook

1 comment:

  1. First of all thanks for this Great speech !! This undemocratic election is shared by so many people that there is no reason for challenging it...
    I had the chance to share 1 of Tristan's 52 weeks / races and it's been a great honour and pleasure sharing his generosity ;-)
    See you mate !
    Bertrand Lellouche


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