Blah, blah, blah


It was there

A record fell this week. Actually it was crushed.

A guy named Tom (he does not want any publicity so no last name). Tom and I grew up together. Tom was a good athlete. A very good one who excelled at track in college. Like the rest of us, he got married, went to work and got softer around the middle. Nothing big, just a regular life.

One day, 15 years later, he is divorced and to make matters worse, he gets laid off. Tom is an eternal optimist. He is not a give up kind of guy. So, back to it. He starts dating again, and since no one will hire him, he starts his own business. Once again, nothing big, just a regular life.

He and his wife start backpacking in a certain area. They spend lots of time hiking the trails and climbing the peaks. They know the area really well. Every weekend they are backpacking in that area. For years.

One day Tom calls me and asks if I have ever heard of speedpacking. No I have not. He tells me about how these guys, using only a daypack, hike a couple of hundred miles in a very short time. They carry their clothes, bivy sack (a type of tent), and first aid stuff in the pack. They have helpers meet them at waystations with food. Some guys had set a very fast record for the trail that he and his wife hike. These same guys got all sorts of endorsements and a big article about them in a magazine. Tom is going to try and break the record.

5 years ago he set out to break it. Basically 50 miles a day for 5 days straight. I am to be one of his helpers bringing in food. On the fourth day he is a whole 20 hours ahead of the record. And then, something really devastating happens, Tom's knee goes out. It locks up to the point that he can no longer even bend his leg. He tries to limp on ahead for the last 17 miles but he cant make it. He crawled to the nearest road and got a ride to his destination. He laid in a hotel bathtub for 24 hours.

It took Tom a few months of physical therapy to be able to walk normally again. He started training again. He had to take off a year to help his mom care for his dad. His dad died from a brain tumor. His second wife got sick and died from breast cancer 3 years ago. 2 years ago Tom suffered a brain seizure and had amnesia for a few weeks. He all but lost his business.

Last month he calls me. We talk about old times, politics, the weather. Then he springs it on me: He is going for the record again. This time he will do it all alone. No helpers. No bivy sack. He will be carrying a heavier backpack. He asks if I will drop him off and pick him up. No problem. I drop him off. It is a straight 250 miles through absolute wilderness. The record has been broken a few times since his last attempt. He tells me the time to beat. See ya later. Oh, yeah, he says, pick me up in 4 days. That is well ahead of the record.

I pick him up on the appointed day. He looks pretty rough, but not too bad considering. I ask him if I am the only one who knows about this. No, his mom will also. No one else. I tell him he just creamed the record and maybe someone might want to know about it. He says that I can tell anyone I like, but do not give his name. He did not do it for that. He did not break the record for acclaim. I ask him if he did it for his dad or his wife. Nope.

"Kevin, it was there". End of the matter.


Comment balloon 12 commentsKevin Robinson • July 08 2008 10:59AM


Kevin this is a truly inspirational story.  It is so easy to get depressed and give up on goals when things get tough.  Tom suffered the trials of Job and yet reached his dream.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Erik Hitzelberger, Louisville - Middletown Real Estate (RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes) almost 11 years ago

Kevin, Thanks for sharing.  What a story!

Posted by Katie Evans (Keller Williams) almost 11 years ago

Maybe you can assign him the task of converting the negative attitude of the media at real estate to a positive one!  Go Tom!

Posted by Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker, Heath Coker Robert Paul Properties Falmouth MA ( & almost 11 years ago

How interesting to get to a point where you accomplish goals just for the sake of doing it.  Would that we would all be that way.  Wouldn't it make us all so much better people if we took away the driving need for competition and acclaim and do it just because "it was there"??


Posted by Renae Bolton, I'm your Professional Real Estate Marketing VA! (Marketing 4 Realtors) almost 11 years ago


Thanks for the great story.  Tell Tom that I admire him; he is what being an American is all about.

Posted by Bill Schwent, Santa Fe Broker (Casa Tierra Realty) almost 11 years ago

Cool story. A man worthy of admiration.

Posted by Israel Barden (RE/MAX Big Bear Village) almost 11 years ago

Great story Kevin! It is the "Toms" of this great land that make me believe in America all over again. Fantastic!

Posted by Simon Conway (Orlando Area Real Estate Services) almost 11 years ago

Kevin - good story, thanks for sharing. Give your friend Tom my warmest congratulations.

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) almost 11 years ago

Very nice!!!!  What a tale of strength - in more ways than one.

Posted by Tchaka Owen (Galleria International Realty) almost 11 years ago

Great Story Kevin!  Thanks for the post!  I wonder how many more are like Tom all over the country?

Posted by John Hersey, e-PRO Realtor (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty) almost 11 years ago

I will pass on the congrats to Tom. He is truly an inspiration to me and will probably laugh at any type of accolades. He does not know it but he has been one of my heroes since I first met him when we were both about 15 years old. The guy is a can-do type with no negativity in him. I do not think I have ever heard him say something will not work or it is too hard.

Posted by Kevin Robinson, Fractional Developer almost 11 years ago

Kevin- You just gotta love someone like that. I,m sure you are blessed to have him as a friend

Posted by Hugh Krone, Realtor, Sussex County NJ (Weichert Referral Associates) almost 11 years ago