Paddy Upton

A story of perseverance

All of us have given up on a project, bailed on a relationship, quit something that was not working. I’m all for not flogging a dead horse, but something happened last evening that got me thinking about this a bit more.

After a few very cold and rainy Cape Town winter days, the clouds parted and the sun popped it’s head out, offering me a small gap to run a Houtbay mountain trail.

As I arrived at one of my favourite spots, there was a car already there, all covered in outdoor adventure gear logo’s. Moments later the owner emerged from the path, dressed in the fanciest of trail running gear… but without a drop of sweat. He told me that “It’s not worth it, the path is too wet and slippery”.

“Bummer,” I thought. But I was dressed and ready, so thought I’d at least go and check just how slippery it was. As I headed up I could see the slide marks where the other dude had tried to make his way up to the contour path. I saw where the footsteps ended, and my ego decided to get further than the other chap had. No more than twenty metres further and around the very next bend, the soil changed from clay to red mountain soil, which was wet but not at all slippery.

I continued to have one of the most awesome runs I’ve ever had in those mountains, surrounded by every little ravine and crevasse bubbling with the joys of recent rains as nature brimmed fresh from a 3-day long cold shower (and some light snow).

I pondered the times when I had given up on a person, a project, a relationship or a venture. As mentioned I’m all for not flogging a dead horse, not going down on a sinking (relation)ship or throwing too much good money after bad. But I wonder how many times we bail on our trail, give up on an idea or person or stop trying… when success lies only a few more slippery steps further and just around the next corner?