Dave Hall rediscovered his passion for fitness after the birth of his first child. Realising that he had lost a lot of the health and fitness he developed when he was younger, Dave was keen to get back into shape to in order to be the best version of himself for his friends and family.
Challenges have also helped Dave reconnect with himself. The daily grind of life and mounting responsibilities can often have people losing their sense of identity. Challenges, helped Dave test his limits and get to know himself and his true strengths.
Now a Rokman veteran, Dave continues to challenge himself and push his limits through Rokman challenges, enabling him to maintain a healthy and fit body and mind.
Read his inspiring story below!
Could you give a bit of background about yourself and what has led you down the path of taking on fitness challenges?
I’m a budding smallholder and engineer. I grew up on the family farm and market garden, and as kids we all helped out. So I picked up the physical drive and the mental strength to keep going no matter what is thrown at you. In farming, things happen that effect you that are out of your control, unpredictable and you need to be ready to cope with them. There were tough times as both my parents had health issues at various times, that meant for me, as a late teenager, balancing school and working on the farm.
I’ve always kept myself fit, mostly with weight lifting and some running. But, as always, life gets in the way and young children in particular. I cycled through periods of weight gain and loss of physicality, followed by getting back on top of this.
I made the mindset shift to keep this a permanent change after the first 6 months of our youngest's life, as he and my wife had some problems following his birth. I realised the importance of finding time for yourself, so that I can be at my best and there for my
family and friends.
Fitness challenges are a good way of keeping motivated and to keep moving. I have a job that involves lots of desk work these days, as well as a young family, so it important to me I get out and exercise. The challenges throw things in that I perhaps wouldn’t do or think to do.
Why do you do it, why do you push your limits?
It's multifaceted. I like to be outside, no matter the weather, and I like to push my limits physically. Along side this is the mental strength it takes to self motivate and get out there pushing it as hard as you can.
The time to myself is important too. It gives me chance to think things through or unwind, to switch off then and focus on the exercise in hand (try to find that mind muscle connection, the zone as some call it).
Our youngest is 1, so I also want to be physically able to keep up with him through his childhood (I’ll be 58 when he turns 18!). Also, to set an example to the kids that its good to be challenging yourself, exercising and having fun doing it! So it's about using it as part of my toolset to maintain a healthy weight and general health.
It's for myself as well, it's me being me, not being the manager, Dad or any of the tother roles you take on it life. This is me, pushing myself to be faster, stronger and more durable.
What impact does taking part in challenges have on your life?
It's definitely mad but I believe in myself more! I’ve learnt I can do more than I thought, which helps in these uncertain times and with the challenges of my job (as you never quite know what problems my arise in engineering or what the next customer will need).
I think my mental resilience was pretty strong anyway, but the challenges have helped me expand this, and push my limits out further. A bit like any skill or muscle, you need to work it to make it stronger and more durable. I think it comes through that I'm confident in my abilities to hold my own and to work through anything new or old thrown my way.
It's definitely helped me in my personal life, as there have been some tough times in the last 2 years with bereavements, family health issues and losses of close ones. So, it does give me something to focus on for me, something to help me let off steam, and it shows that I can get there, even if the end isn’t necessarily in sight (or seems a very long way off). The good natured and friendly competitiveness helps as well, as it adds a bit to the challenges and does help you push yourself further.
What were your expectations when you first joined the Team Rokman Facebook group?
I wasn’t sure what to expect really. I was nervous, as your suddenly in a group of strangers, doing things you wouldn’t perhaps normally do, with no idea what the result will be. But, that quickly left me. It’s a great group, full of support and normal people pushing themselves and helping you too. Its hugely supportive, and some of the off shoots are hugely entertaining (doing a Murph with Chris something I would never have envisaged a few weeks before). I do like some of the military overtones to some challenges, not sure why, but it does appeal to me on a certain level.
How much value do you put on the Team Rokman group and how has it helped in terms of your challenges and goals?
There is great support from the Rokman group. It helps to know they are there, will support and help you out however they can. They are hugely inviting. It also helps if you are looking for some clarity on the challenge or a good way to make the goals (like the elevation challenges). I am in awe of some of the members who complete crazy ultra marathons and other challenges, just shows what you can do with the right mindset.
What’s been your favourite Rokman challenge and why?
The Frogman Boat Carry, bizarrely. Something about the craziness of running/jogging 5km whilst carrying 20kg on your shoulders appealed! It certainly wasn’t something you plan to do or come across very often. I’d been running a weekly virtual 5k race to that point, so this really took it up to a whole new level.
I did really enjoy the whole Adapt and Overcome Challenge Series as well. Waiting to see what it was, then working out when and how to do it really added a whole new dimension to it, beyond just the physical nature. Particularly fitting in the 2x2x24 round work and family.
What’s been your most challenging Rokman challenge and how did you push through it?
The Four horseman Endurance week. 13.1 miles in one hit was a distance I’d never attempted before (longest to that point was probably around 8.5 miles for an off road race). A half marathon felt daunting, as it was a long old way. That and with 2 miles to go my inner legs were in agony. But, I wanted to finish it, without resorting to walking, to prove to myself that I could. I think it was the drive to finish it having given it my all, to know I didn’t leave anything out there that kept me going. The kids helped, as I knew they were really keen to see how quick I could do it in. I focused on the end game, swore quite a lot and ground it out. I don’t like quitting once I’ve said I‘ll do it as well.
What’s your advice to someone who is thinking of taking on a Rokman challenge?
Just go for it. It will push you, or should and will keep you on your toes. But the rewards of completing the challenges are well worth it. And it’s a great community of people who do them, the support is second to none.