At 19 years of age, James Power is one of Ireland's youngest professional boxers. The Cork native currently has a record of 5-0, with four of his victories coming by knockout.
In February of 2020, James agreed a deal with American management company Sheer Sports. He was due to permanently relocate to LA just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to cause a worldwide lockdown.
The subsequent suspension of US Visa application services put James' move on hold. To make matters worse, all boxing training in Ireland was also cancelled. Despite the unexpected obstacles, it turns out James is an extremely determined individual.
To stay fit during the lockdown, James would run a 10km loop near his local village of Dripsey. However, one night he had an unusual idea.
"I always asked myself could you do a marathon without training? So about 2 months ago I decided to do a 50k just off the bat."
"I thought about doing the 80km one Thursday or Friday night. It kind of kept me awake. Same with the 50km one. It kept me awake at night just thinking of it. I knew I had to go out there and just give it my best shot."
"Short runs would be [part of my training]. Nothing more than 40 minutes. I didn’t train for it specifically. I just run generally to stay fit and active."
James decided he would do 8 laps of his regular 10k loop. He would stop briefly after each circuit to get some water and food off his mother and sister who would be waiting for him at each break.
"It has hills, its not flat. It’s a pretty difficult route but that was just an extra challenge thrown on top of it."
"I’m only human. I’m not immune to pain or suffering or anything, but it was just about biting down and getting through it."
View this post on Instagram
The doctor said I had NO INJURIES but pushed my body past its limits. He said I’ll be back to normal within a week. Which meant my run was a total success! - I’m posting this to show you all that I’m human. I suffer and feel pain like everyone else. I just won’t quit. If I start something, I’ll finish it. No matter what. It doesn’t matter how much pain I’m in, quitting is not an option. Taking that easy way out is never the right choice. Your body will heal and recover, but your mind won’t. If you quit, you must live with that regret for the rest of your life. - We’re all capable of so much more than we realise. But most people give up when they start feeling uncomfortable despite being perfectly fine to carry on. Your body can and will endure almost anything with the right state of mind. If you learn anything from me, please let it be this -> If you believe in yourself and are willing to do whatever it takes you can accomplish anything in life!
Just 3 days after he first came up with the idea, James set out on his route. Incredibly, he completed his near double marathon-length run in 8 hours and 20 minutes.
View this post on Instagram
80KM RUN DONE!✅ - There are no limits to what we can achieve with the right mindset. We are all capable of so much more than we realise, but our minds limit us. - I set a goal of 80km today and nothing was going to stop me from reaching it. Yes, my body took a beating but my mind remained strong. Stopping was never an option. I’m not at a point where I believe I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. If I start something, I’ll finish it. I’ll see it through to it’s conclusion no matter what. I don’t have to destroy myself everyday, but I can unlock that state of mind and and find strength if needed. - We all have this dormant potential hidden deep within us. It’s your job to discover it! How far can you push yourself? What are you capable of? What are you willing to endure to reach your goals?
According to James, completing the task was a far bigger mental challenge than a physical one.
"People looking at the run will say, 'He has incredible endurance, incredible this and that'. None of that’s really relevant. It's not a physical test, it's more of a mental one. That’s one of the reasons why I didn’t prepare for it."
"My sister’s only 12. I’m trying to pass on that kind of mindset. I wanted her to be there at the end of each 10km loop to see me struggle and to know that if you set your mind to something and you refuse to quit, you will reach the end of it."
Looking forward to the future, James says his move to LA is still going ahead once the US pandemic restrictions are eased. For now, he's concentrating on learning more about psychology and a strong mindset, which he attributes to getting him through his run.
James says he also wants other people to know they can achieve equally impressive feats if they truly put their minds to it.
"Hopefully, somebody doesn't look at that and say its because he's talented or its because he has endurance. I’m not a runner and I never will be. I'm a boxer at the end of the day and I'm not prepared for that type of run."
"I just want people to know that with a little bit of self-belief and will-power that you can get through anything no matter how difficult or painful it is. You can get through it with the right state of mind and you can accomplish your goals if you’re willing to endure anything to see them through to the conclusion."