How to do something that you think is IMPOSSIBLE: Advice from a man who ran 7 ultra-marathons on 7 continents

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Everyone has something that they have always dreamed of doing.

I dreamed a dream about 3 months ago that I could run a marathon, but something inside me kept saying, "Go for 30!" So, that's what I did.

However, it wasn't something that I just got up and did. I worked for it. I spent a lot of time running and set some new personal records such as over 100 miles run in one month, and longest run to date.

Three years ago I had never run over 1.5 miles. Of course I had an extra 30 pounds on my frame, I was $55K in debt, and was working 2nd shift at a job. My life was pretty monotonous, and depressing. In fact, I believe I was depressed. Sometimes you don't even know that you are.

I would wake up in the morning, and then sit on the couch for 4 hours until I had to get ready for work. Then I would go to work until 2:30 am. Sometimes, after work, I couldn't sleep so I would just go walk around Walmart and think about my life.

During those days of depression, I found a website called IMPOSSIBLEHQIt is run by a man named Joel Runyon. Joel had experienced a similar point in his life that I was currently going through. IMPOSSIBLEHQ was his way of getting out of that rut.

I have been reading Joel's blogs consistently for a while now, and have been following him on Instagram. He recently completed running 7 ultra-marathons on 7 continents to build 7 schools for an organization called Pencils of Promise.

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What an accomplishment. There are only 5 people who have ever done this. It seems Impossible doesn't it?

Joel inspired me to start blogging, start running, and to do things that seem impossible. 

I recently connected with Joel and was able to ask him a few questions about IMPOSSIBLE HQ, and about his running adventures.

Check it out.


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360MP: What was it that made you finally realize that you wanted more from life? What were your thoughts, the emotions that you felt, and what was the first action you took?

I was sitting in my parents basement and realized I had followed "all the rules" and was unemployed and couldn't get a job at Starbucks. I was straight up depressed and pissed that this was where I was at.

I felt sorry for myself for a while, but i finally decided to suck it up and get over it. I wanted to run a triathlon, so I found an indoor triathlon, signed up and did it. When I finished, I realized I had spent so much time telling myself "this seems impossible' - but when I signed up and did it, it wasn't so tough after all. I asked myself "what else seems impossible, but if you signed up for it, you could probably do it?" and that's how I took off!

360MP: Tell me about why you chose pencils of promise and what it was like running 7 ultra-marathons?

I connected with Pencils of Promise back in 2012. I loved what they were doing & running an "ultra" was next on my impossible list. Everything on IMPOSSIBLE is about doing the next impossible thing - so I wanted to figure out how I could take impossible bigger, and do something more. 777 came out of that and once I settled on the idea, I knew I had to do it.

360MP: Do you think philanthropy should be a goal for everyone?

I think everyone can do philanthropy in their own way. it's just about recognizing your opportunities and being thankful for them.

360MP: When you first started IMPOSSIBLEHQ.com did you ever think that it would grow into what it has now?

When I was first starting IMPOSSIBLE, I just wanted to do something interesting with my life. I was sitting at home in my parents basement and didn't want to be a failure at life. I did not expect IMPOSSIBLE to become what it is today.

360MP:What inspired you to do it? How did you set it all up? Did you do it yourself, have someone else do it for you?

I was reading blogs by Sean OgleChris Guillebeau and a few others. I set it up myself and have put together a simple how to blog guide here (and a video blogging tutorial at startablog.tv)

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360MP: What is the most IMPOSSIBLE Thing you have done to date?

I think 777 – running 7 ultra marathons on 7 continents and raising $192,000+ has been the most impossible thing to-date.

360MP: What is the best way to connect with people and get your blog noticed, or gain momentum?

Read their stuff. Reach out. Do something valuable and offer it for free. Find out what people are struggling with and help make it happen. People need help all the time. Make it easy for them to say yes to you.

360MP: What would you tell the man who doesn’t think he has time to exercise, or do anything significant?

You do.

How many other things are you wasting your time on every day? Facebook, Netflix, scrolling on your phone? 

Stop complaining and do some push-ups. You can do it – you just don’t want it bad enough. Go harder.

Most men are caught in the hamster wheel of life, how could they start to change that?

360MP: What is next for IMPOSSIBLE HQ?

A LOT

We are building tools and resources to actually DO the stuff they say they want to do.

This involves a bunch more “how-to” stuff combined with actual apps and physical products that will help you while you’re doing something impossible.

360MP: Tell me about IMPOSSIBLE Island, what is the idea for this?

This is classified. I’ll reveal more information on a need-to-know basis.

360MP: What is the most challenging thing about running an ultra-marathon or seven? What is the most rewarding?

The hardest part is showing up at the start line. Every time I show up to the start line, I know one thing. I will finish this race. I've done some pretty stupid things to finish them (run on a busted ankle, eat snow, etc), but I finish. The race happens in your head first. Then your feet just have to do the work.

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360MP: How did Impossible HQ Begin?

Here's the blog post that stated it all

360MP:What is your favorite quote, movie, book?


It’s always impossible until it’s done
— Nelson Mandela

Find out More About Joel Runyon

Follow him on Social Media:

I started IMPOSSIBLE to push myself to try to live a life worth writing about by pushing my limits, living an adventure & telling a great story by doing the impossible. You can get free updates in your inbox via your new favorite newsletter and see all my businesses at Impossible X and our philanthropic efforts at Impossible.org


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