Should you sacrifice your goal to Help a Friend?

Mark Kleimann
6 min readSep 22, 2022

I achieved a milestone, but felt guilty…

Photo by Capstone Events on Unsplash

It was back in the day, when I was fitter than I am today, and was a keen long-distance runner, training daily before work and running up to five 10km and 12km fun runs every year.

I timed my training runs, aiming towards my “Holy Grail” time of 4 minutes per kilometre — not a bad pace.

I made sure that I had the right attire: Adidas running singlet and shorts, and the only running shoes that suited my pronated running style and helped it — Asics.

My heroes were Australian running gurus of that time — Steve Moneghetti, Lee Troop and Robert de Castella. They were the gods of Australian running — Steve had once warmed up for a half marathon in Melbourne by running 10km directly before it. He had then won it, using it as training for the Olympic Marathon that he competed in a few months later. Only a god could do that…

Why don’t you help our friend get fit, Mark?

My first wife and I lived across the street from good friends of ours, a lovely couple around our age.

The husband was a police constable who was overweight and had sleep apnea, needing a machine to help him breathe properly while sleeping.

My wife came up with an idea that I could help the husband lose weight and gain fitness, by running with him every weekday, an idea I supported to an extent. While I was keen to help him, I knew that my running pace was far faster than his, as he had never run seriously in his life. I suggested that he and I run together twice a week to help him gain fitness, an idea that my wife did not agree with.

We had started this training regime when I received a notice in the post from the running organisation that I was a member of, letting me know that the last fun run of the calendar year was fast approaching — the 10km Glenelg Fun Run.

I told my wife about it and she suggested that I ask my friend if he would like to run it too — it would be a great experience, wouldn’t it?

I asked him and he agreed to do it — the entire 10km. As I had been participating in fun runs since my mid-teens, I naively assumed that he would be ok — he would take it easy, running at a…

Mark Kleimann

I am a writer from Australia, and share my experiences to help others with whatever challenges they might be facing