A frenchman holding a camera is telling me to keep the bike as straight as I can. He’s holding onto me because I am taller than his female cohort. Charles is wearing a mic telling Matt to nod after each sentence he proudly articulates in his native tongue. I jokingly explain to Matt that I understand French perfectly and Charles is telling them they are lovers. Matt smirks, then starts to nod less intently. These are my friends. We arrived at the Achilles workout over an hour ago, and we’ve yet to run more than a quarter mile.
Thinking back to when Charles decided to run the marathon, I remember believing, in a rather strong fashion, this might inspire one or two people.
One week before the marathon, Team Charles is being filmed by what Charles describes as ‘French CNN’ while we individually tell the reporter from the Wall Street Journal about this journey. Two other media counterparts are asking for our last names to make sure quotes are properly assigned. They aren’t attached to the WSJ or French CNN — how did all of this happen so quickly?
The woman from WSJ asks me what Charles does for a living. He’s a prominent leader at Surgeons of Hope — they enable impoverished countries to build self-sufficient surgery centers. I quickly realize Charles does not boast, he does not brag, and, with all due respect, he does not fully understand his own impact on the world.
At some point, we did go for a run today. What Charles said at mile 4 caused me to write this post. He warned us he may fall into a depression after the marathon is over. His sentiment was comedic with the smallest inkling of sincerity.
Every story written about Charles this year represents a splash. Splashes turn into waves. Waves travel across great oceans, moving everyone they encounter.
This marathon, in my own humble opinion, has been about Charles defining himself as a man. He has chosen not to become a victim. He has chosen not to sit idly while unfair nuisances get in the way of an incredible life. This is what Achilles is all about.
I often fear Charles has proven this to the world before he’s proven it to himself.
Run this marathon for yourself, Charles. Accept your impact on the world and treat it as a great responsibility. You’ve set the bar for yourself this year, and reaching high has lifted the world around you. This does not end at the finish line.
Go Achilles. And Go Team Charles.