I'm Pete Makepeace, and I'm in my mid-40s living near Birmingham, England. I work in the finance team of a large multinational company and in my spare time enjoy outdoor activities with my wife and two children. I enjoy playing golf and am an active member of a local running club.
I connected with The 401 in January 2019 after being inspired by reading Ben Smith's book. Ben's motivations and the efforts he went to throughout the original 401 marathons challenge, allured me to be involved with whatever next challenges there would be and this of course led to the USA Challenge.
I was originally excited about the idea of tracking Ben as he completed the USA Challenge, understanding the scale of the effort and learning the geography and topography being covered in the challenge. When the Virtual Challenge was unveiled I realised that I could achieve all of this both 'for real' and 'virtually' by taking part.
I'm loving my involvement in the Virtual USA Challenge, although mileage can be automatically uploaded from fitness devices, I find it very satisfying at the end of each day to log my activities (usually 'general' walking, or running - sometimes the odd bike ride!) into the Virtual Mission site. I have no competition against anyone else in the Challenge, and since I've sometimes been injured from running and sometimes do longer bike rides I have no plan or expectation of myself. Everything I accomplish is about getting the best from myself at the time ... to be most happy.
In April 2020, when all of our household were working and schooling from home the Virtual Challenge was a great motivator to me to break my working day up with regular running, and also to have a family walk every evening. That quickly became a routine that benefitted us all throughout the lockdown period and has continued ever since.
I belong to the Facebook group for the Virtual USA Challenge, and find it wonderful to read the motivations other people in the group have, and get a real happy feeling from celebrating accomplishments in the challenge that others share (and occasionally share my own to the group too). I always expected that I'd learn much about locations in USA, but the actual learning has really come from the scale of knowing when I've had an active week or month and seeing how far I've travelled in the challenge. The perspective is wonderful when I think ahead to Ben completing the challenge for real ... but also a massive satisfaction to see what I've completed (particularly at a time when we're all finding 'new normals' for our activities and recreation).
If I was asked to offer advice to anyone starting in the challenge it would be to be involved in as many aspects of the challenge as possible - join the Facebook group (even if you never post to it), look at the map to see where you've come from and going to. Get some merchandise to feel the involvement and belonging with the group.
If you want to join Pete and take part in one of our Virtual USA Challenge missions, you can register HERE, where will your adventure take you?