'No such thing as fail': The blind Kiwi with Parkinson's completing marathons

McRoberts' road to an IronMan

Over the next couple of months I'd like to take you through my training and preparation for my latest challenge: the Taupo 70.3 IronMan next March.

I'll let you see exactly what I'm up to, what's working and what's not, the good and the bad.

Here's a spoiler alert: I'm pretty useless at swimming - but more on that later. 

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    I've just completed the New York marathon for the third time which is how my fitness and health journey began. Six years and about 10kgs ago I met Mike Lloyd, a blind runner with Parkinson's who was training for the New York Marathon. He needed some help with his long runs so I offered to guide him. I've been guiding him ever since.

    Mike Lloyd

    Mike is one of the most inspiring, but down to earth people you'd ever meet. I love his attitude to life and his wicked sense of humour. I can't overstate what Mike has done for me - he has literally changed my life.

    If it wasn’t for Mike, I doubt I would have run a marathon. Now I've run15.

    I was privileged and honoured to be with Mike as he achieved his own incredible milestone - 10 successive New York marathons.

    Like so many of the Achilles athletes I travelled to New York with, Mike has never let his blindness or Parkinson's be a reason for not achieving - in fact, it's the opposite.

    For Mike, the marathon is a "celebration".

    "To me it's a celebration of what I can do, and what we can do as people, rather than what we can't do," explains Mike.

    "It's taken a lot of sheer determination and a lot of energy and a lot of focus from a lot of very willing supportive people," he says.

    Six years ago, Mike was diagnosed with Parkinson's. It's hard to comprehend how much tougher running is for him these days. In neurophysics he's found not a cure, but a way of controlling the symptoms.

    Neuro-trainer Jane Matthews explains how Mike is "deprived of sensory information".

    "It makes life very difficult for him - so what we've been trying to do with NeuroPhysics is get him really connected, so he can feel his whole body, feel his whole system and make adjustments," she says.

    "It's one thing to have a plan, it's another to execute it, and I've watched in awe as Mike has worked towards his goal."

    Mike says there's "no such thing as fail".

    "There is no such thing as go home without the medal, there is no such thing as not finish, there is no such thing as fail - it's suck it up, do what you need to do, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time to get to that finish line."

    And so, like 50,000 others, we stood at the start line this morning. And it was absolutely amazing, near-perfect conditions saw millions on the roads supporting.

    Forty-two kilometres and seven hours later, we finished a remarkable run.

    To the people back home supporting us, Mike has a message: "Thank you so much - I couldn't do this without you guys. Unbelievable beyond words... and that's not something I can say often."

    Mike once told me everyone gets a medal - you've just got to go 42km to pick it up.