Strength is a matter of the made-up mind.

John Beecher

Have we all made up our minds to do our very best to protect both ourselves and everybody else during these times of the COVID-19? I think that the majority of people have. They care about the survival of us all (let alone our planet) and are engaged, deeply, in varying ways in The Coronavirus 2020 Ultra-Mega-Marathon. 

However, the difference in this marathon compared to most others, is that we do not know where the finishing line is and when we think we do, it keeps changing. Where is that elusive finishing line? How many miles forward do we still have to travel? Will we ever reach it? Will we take the wrong steps into the future and travel backwards into reverse or the right steps forward, and travel into safer times?

And so we ask ourselves, just how many more races against time are there still to be won? There is comfort in our knowledge that so many brilliant scientific, medical and philosophical minds are pondering these questions and trying as fast as they can  to complete the grueling, punishing Ultra-Mega-Scientific-Marathon. The extraordinary scientific community and all those who contribute as best they can to the protection of the public, have committed to the long haul in order to help us return to the security of everyday living that many of us once enjoyed. They are trying enormously hard to find solutions that will help us all. We wait for their assessments even though we know that with this mutating virus, the answers might not be definitive. We are so grateful and indebted to them.

As I wait and ponder the incoming information as best I can, a book I wrote a few years back called KOPTOE Transcending Boundaries: The Comrades Marathon, has popped into my mind quite frequently. There are just so many comparisons that I think about in terms of the contents of that book and where we are all at today.

Just as I had once trained for that world-famous, grueling, 56-mile ultra-marathon in South Africa, and then had, during the writing about it, relived my own training and my commitment to completion, I see a very similar single-mindedness of purpose that I had mustered at that time, continue today with all my projects to which I have committed. That type of focus, in fact is reflected in so many of us as we do our social distancing and keep infection away. Indeed, most of us have committed to keeping ourselves and others healthy and are moving slowly, oh so slowly, forward to the finishing line. We understand the problems we face but we have to believe we will endure. We will reach the finishing line together by both cooperating with and protecting each other.

We might not be able to sprint, dash or  fly forward and we do understand that, but we will get there. So, I pose a question to you: Can we say as my character Nick said in KOPTOE (which means, roughly, focus and single-mindedness of purpose) the following?:

“I’m running well man. Totally koptoe with my running. I think of it all the time. Jeez, I’m really running well. I’m going to make the Comrades.  I‘m going to make it.” ?

I think, indeed we can but in a slightly different way:

“I’m coping well man. Totally koptoe with my coping. I think of it all the time. Jeez, I’m really coping well. I’m going to make the Coronavirus Ultra-Mega-Marathon. I’m going to make it!” 

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