Never Quit, It’s Only Just Begun

Never Quit. Your Year Will Be Won Or Lost In The Second Half, And It’s Only Just Begun.

Below is a short story to stretch your mind; lift your heart, and bring a smile to your face…
by Pádraic Ó Máille


TV producer Bud Greenman was packing away his gear following the 1968 Mexico City Marathon. It had been over an hour since he had televised the iconic Ethiopian runner, Mamo Wolde, as he cruised, almost effortlessly, across the finish line in a time of 2:20:26.

Just then his production assistant came running up to him yelling.

‘Hey, Mr. Greenman. There’s one left. You ought to film him’.

And sure enough, into the darkened and almost deserted stadium, hobbled a heavily bandaged and clearly injured competitor. Each step caused him to wince painfully.

John Stephen Akhwani, the Tanzanian competitor, had fallen badly in the eleventh mile while jockeying for position. In the fall he dislocated his knee and badly damaged his shoulder as it was rammed against the pavement.

The few remaining spectators inside the stadium began to cheer and clap as Akhwani struggled to reach the finish line. As he crossed it, he fell for the second time, clutching his knee in agony.

The crowd roared their acclaim.

Greenman had recorded every scintilla of that excruciatingly painful, courageous, and emotional finish. In addition, he got to interview Akhwani immediately after the race.

He asked Akhwani about his injuries and the pain and the trauma. He then asked what Reilly thought was a great question.

‘Mr. Akhwani, why did you bother finishing the race given your injuries and knowing full well you had no chance of winning?’

Akhwani seemed baffled by the question.

‘Mr. Greenspan, I don’t think you understand. My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 5,000 miles to finish it!’

Akhwani was the last to finish in 54th place. Interestingly, 75 started the race.


  • Friday last was the first of July and the start of the second half of the year. You won’t need an appointment to get into a gym today. Covid aside, there’s a reason your gym is much emptier today than it was in January. Finishing is much more difficult than starting. Day 1 is infinitely sexier than Day 2. Or certainly, Day 182. If you’re struggling to finish what you started consider these strategies.
  • Reconnect with your core purpose. Ask yourself why you exist – as a person and as a business.
  • Clarify once again your vision. What do you want to be famous for? As Reillys Uncle Michael once said to him in the Palace Bar on Main Street in Bundoran, ‘Reilly, do you want to be remembered as an example or as a warning? Classic question.
  • Do a health check on your business and your body.
  • Agree on a handful of projects that you will start and finish by the end of the year that will bring you closer to your vision.
  • Find someone who will hold you accountable for finishing these projects.
  • Be inspired by characters like John Stephen Akhwani. They toughen our resolve mentally and physically and emotionally. The ultimate victories are those private victories with ourselves where we take ourselves on and finish what we start.
  • And the same is true for each of us. In the race of life, there will be falls and injuries and days when things just don’t go our way. The trick is always to have the Smácht pick yourself up and finish the race irrespective of time or position. In the final analysis, it’s the finishers who are the winners.
  • We are in the second half of 2022. For some, the first half has been a year that has left us injured and way behind in the race of life. Like Akhwani however, we have a choice. We can gracefully give up and blame it on circumstances. Or we can doggedly dig deep, race on, and assuredly know that we too were sent to finish the race, not start it.


Reillys’ Mother, whose fourth anniversary is today, made him memorize a poem when he was going through a ropey patch in his teens called ‘ Don’t Quit ‘ by Edgar Guest. It was published 100 years ago this year in the Detroit Press. It could save you a fortune on therapy.


‘Don’t Quit ’

By Edgar Guest.

‘When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
And the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

‘Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

‘Often the goal is nearer than it seems
To a faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up when he
Might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

‘Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you’re the hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worst that
You mustn’t quit.


  1. What are those things that you started in 2022 that you get to finish irrespective of how difficult it feels or how far behind you are?

If finishing the second half of the year strong is important to you Smácht may just have the ideal sauce for you.

On July 22ndnext Smácht is organising an Smácht Mór event that will guide you by the hand in answering the five essential questions of a powerful strategic plan. Places are limited to 40 so if you’re interested check it out now on Eventbrite book your place.

Choose and benefit from Padraic O’Maille services: Smacht Programme, Keynote Speaker, Business Coaching, Business Mentoring, and One-to-One Coaching.

Join a Smácht Mastermind group. Learn how to become more decisive and take responsibility for making a difference in the world. Book a call today.

Learn More About SMACHT

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