A few weeks ago I ran the Gold Coast marathon [in Queensland, Australia]. It was sort of fun, in a ‘falling down an up-escalator kind of way’, and I managed to escape with only a few aches and pains, unlike this guy who I saw along the way.

(Photo by Richard Gosling)

His name is Damien Rider, a 41 year old endurance athlete, who not only finished the 42.2 kilometre race, but did so carrying a single bed mattress.

Apart from the shock and amazement of seeing him out on the course, I found out later that he actually finished with a few minutes to spare ahead of the 6 hours and 40 minute cut off time. But the obvious question remains: Why?

Does he suffer from sudden and unexpected narcolepsy that requires him for his own safety to carry a bed around? Did he double book himself for both a marathon and helping a friend to move? Or is he one of those ‘fundamentalist Christians’ who take everything literally?

Say what? Yes, you know the ones. The ones who take all the ‘red letters’ in the Bible literally, such as Mark Chapter 2 verse 9 where it is written: “Rise, take up your mat[tress] and walk”.

Of course, there’s a bit more to the Bible story than that including a paralysed guy and his very eager companions who dug through the roof of a house, just so they could lower their friend ‘mission impossible’ style, right in front Jesus. But amazingly it worked and Jesus healed both his sins and his pins, and even took a swipe at the local lawyers (a past-time that has survived the ages) when he asked them which is easier, to say “Your sins are forgiven” or “Get up, take up your mattress and run 42.2 kilometres”. Evidently, they both seem pretty hard to me, but Damien Rider has now shown the latter possible.

But as far as I could tell, none of Mr Rider’s tattoos were Bible verses, nor could I see any obvious fish symbol on the mattress. So I am left unable to confirm or deny if he was in fact inspired by this part of the Bible (or whether he does actually suffer from any form of narcolepsy). However what I can say is that Mr Rider has been completing a whole series of these type of endurance feats to try and encourage others to achieve their goals, with the motto ‘Never lay down, never give up’ (which I have checked, and in case you were wondering is not in the Bible).

It’s a fairly unusual motto I would have thought for a guy carrying a bed, but as long as he is doing what makes him happy, then I suppose nothing [else] really mattress.