Written by Ashley Dier | Academy of Lions Media Team | Toronto


I was approaching the 16K mark and I was tired. I couldn't believe it was finally happening, I was running a half marathon. The past 16 weeks had been an emotional roller coaster, weeks of tireless training had brought me to this very moment. I was a whirlwind of emotions, elation, anger, fear and sadness, I still had 6 more kilometers to go, 6 kilometres that felt like 600.

Drive, it keeps you moving forward and silences that little voice that whispers "I can't". It's what appears when your muscles are on fire and beg you to stop. It's what pushes you through those final 25 burpees, those last push-ups, that final lap around the block.

For me, at that 16k mark I felt as if I'd used up all the drive I had. During the kilometers prior I was visualizing my family fighting their individual battles, cancer, lupus...each member had their own struggle. My family drove me forward, I could see their faces and feel their support, it kept me moving. But at that 16k mark, something different was happening, my visualization bank was empty and as hard as I tried to ignore “the voice”, I wanted to quit. I was losing my drive.

Just a few kilometers ahead of me, at 18k, were my crew. With flags and horns and endless positive energy, my friends were waiting to bring me home, this became my new focus. Get to 18k, this will take you to the finish line.

What does drive mean to the individual? I knew what it means for me, but is it the same for everyone? I looked to the community and asked three Academy of Lions members, whom I personally find inspiring, two questions:

  • What gets you up in the morning?
  • What keeps you going when things get tough and you want to quit?

I was curious to hear their answers.

Chris Hammell - Business Owner - Town Barber, Lead Singer

What gets you up in the morning? 

My 7am crew, Dhani Oks and Mike Krupica have been the most inspiring and motivating dudes. I honestly feel like I don't deserve to be lagging behind them every morning.

What keeps you going? 

Spite. I don't like to be told I can't do something. So when I start to fade and tell myself I'm gonna tap out, I work harder. (That and shitty snacks, I love shitty snacks.)


Karen Olivero - Crew "Mom", Nurse

What gets you up in the morning?

The pure and simple fact that I can. I'm lucky enough to be blessed with excellent health to be able to do whatever I want. Having worked in the trauma center for the past 20 years I've seen how life can change in a few seconds. Life is a privilege and I embrace it.

What keeps you going?

When things get tough what keeps me going is all of you, all your happy faces, my amazing family and their support and love. The "quit" word doesn't exist in my family! My dad will be 94 next month and is still going strong - an example to live by!


Natalie Lodge - Academy RunCrew Co-Captain, SoComm, Events Management

What gets you up in the morning?

I'm very routine, but getting up is often the hardest part. Knowing that I will get to see my friends and community before I start my day just simply makes me so happy. Morning workouts often can have this magical feeling where you can either be real groggy or wide awake. I think my favourite thing is when I leave the gym after my workout on the way to work and just feel thankful for the workout, happy I got up and simply happy that I get to start my day off that way.

What keeps you going?

Knowing that life has its ups and downs and that we always need to keep moving forward no matter what. It's a lot easier to not give up when you have people around you that bring joy and give strength to you. Whether it's running, a WOD, a personal or work struggle, it's the people that surround me that help keep me going. When you feel like you are giving up, a quick glance or call to a friend helps me regain the strength and focus to keep moving and keeping with the mantra, giving up is not an option.

Three different people, each with their own life experiences, their own stories, each heavily driven by their peers and their community, and each other. Much like I was looking for my crew at the 18k mark that morning, they rely on their community to help them achieve their goals.

Drive is interesting, everyone has it inside but not many have it truly figured out. What is it about sport and physical challenges that forces us to reach into the deep recesses of "us" and unlock our own drive, and why do some of us look to our communities for that push? Sure I've always been ambitious, but that real drive, that real focus and push was unlocked through the act of running and sport. That race taught me a lot about myself, it showed me that with drive and determination... I can. I finished just a few minutes shy of my goal, a finish thanks in part to an elderly gentleman giving me one final soft push just before the finish line. My race time from that fall day still stands as my PB, my personal best. Just this week I started a new training cycle, for a new half marathon, I have new goals and I'm still hunting down that PB. My grandfather has since lost his battle with cancer, a loss that some days still feels fresh. I think of him often, daily, he has become a part of my drive, my story.

Be it with motivation from our peers, family, colleagues or even spite, we all move forward with drive and determination. Our success' and failures become a part of our drive story, gaining speed and momentum as we do. Think about it, we are all a part of each other's drive stories in some way. I still think of that older man on the race course reaffirming what I already knew... "you got this, just keep going," he was right.  

What drives you, what's your drive story?