Managing Director Mark Newton shares his remarkable journey into distance running and how it has transformed his perspective on leadership, resilience, and the power of pushing one's boundaries.

The Catalyst
When the world came to a standstill during the Covid-19 lockdown, I found solace in the simplicity of running. When we were first locked down due to Covid, the freedom of being able to run enabled me to keep clarity at work.  Because we were locked down and unable to do anything else, there was more time to do it. It drew me to thinking, Could I run 55km on my 55th birthday, which was my first ultra goal?  I wouldn't have done it without Covid; it was the push I needed.

My running journey has now spanned three years, during which I have covered a range of distances including 168 kilometres in a single weekend. 

Stepping out of comfort zones
I can’t emphasise highly enough the importance of venturing out of one's comfort zone and the profound impact it can have. So much good stuff has happened since my 55km birthday run. So many people I meet run for charities, and their inspiring stories of their lives and traumas they have experienced are remarkable. Pushing yourself while being humbled by the humility of others on the journey is a rollercoaster experience. There'll be tears, humour, ideas, inspiration, thinking things through that are uncomfortable, and jubilation at the achievements made.

Inspiring the team
I like to encourage our team at Sontay to embrace challenges and explore new horizons. We encourage our people to go outside their comfort zones.  It is pushing yourself that creates extraordinary things. We came through Covid, we came through component shortages, we're continuing to grow as a business through a cost-of-living crisis. These all happen because we as a team keep pushing and trying new things. New technologies, taking pivotal roles in the BCIA Young Engineers Network, embracing social media, presenting, and owning challenges are just a snippet of the challenges the team has taken and flown with!

Future challenges
When I reached the finish line at Bath Abbey for my 160km event, I took the time to reflect and to be thankful to my wife and supporters who crewed for me over the 31 hours!  I recognised that without a small team to support me, the chance of success would have been certainly reduced.  This is the same key principle of building a successful business.  Now I will take a little time to recover before I head off to run the Florence Marathon.

Mark’s journey is marked by resilience and personal growth, hopefully serving as an inspiration not only to his team at Sontay but to anyone who might encounter his story. He exemplifies how embracing challenges and stepping out of one's comfort zone can lead to extraordinary personal and professional growth.