“Live like you’re dying”, “live life to the fullest”, “truly live each day” – these are all great sound bites, but do you know anyone who really lives that way? I do; his name is Sully – well, Cris Sullivan, to be exact. Always a smile, always loves to be just where he is, always a kind word for friend or family – and you are one, the other, or both. Sully wouldn’t have it any other way.

In life, you can choose to be happy, and Sully made that choice long ago. Life wasn’t easy on him, that’s for sure – the exact opposite, in fact.

Over the last 7 years he’s lost 213 pounds; fought through injuries and surgeries, stage 3 colon cancer, a 98% arterial blockage – oh it would have been easy to get down. He never does, though.

He worked through it all to be a triathlete, a Spartan, an OCR athlete, cage diving with sharks(!!) – so many things he’s accomplished because, dammit, he wasn’t going to not live his life ALL IN.

I can honestly say that I don’t know him near as well as I would like – but I would bet he thinks of me as a friend; that’s just who he is. I’d love for you to meet him sometime, and see just how amazing he really is. Unfortunately, that won’t happen.

You see, Sully passed away on August 18th, 2020. He collapsed at the gym he loved, was resuscitated, then went into open heart surgery a couple days later. Complications ensued – yes, life can be very complicated. Death, on the other hand, is pretty simple by comparison.

For Sully though, life was simple too. You get up, you show up, you do what you set out to do. Why? Because the alternative is to not really be alive – and that wasn’t going to work for him.

Hearing about him from friends and family, they all said the same thing – Sully loved life and wasn’t going to miss anything. His nephews talked about him always being there, always showing up, always making his presence felt. He was their biggest cheerleader and their sounding board.

Show Up and Show Out

Friends, this is the key to living life fully – show up. Make a loud noise. You can go along to get along, or you can make something happen. Don’t settle for good enough. Let people know you are there. Give yourself fully and it will come back around. Sully cared about everyone he knew; you could tell that just sharing a room.

First time I met him, I was new at the gym. He saw my Spartan tattoo and introduced himself, told me about the OCRs they ran as a team. He encouraged me to join them; we talked about races and would update each other as 2020 dragged on and one after another was canceled. He would always say we needed to run a race together. It won’t happen now, and that hurts.

September 6, I’m running the Extreme Timber Challenge. Cris ran it last year; this time he will be there in my heart. The beauty of OCR is the challenge, and the camaraderie. It’s not like anything else I’ve been around – everyone is out there together and helping each other get better, get stronger. It’s not a shock that Sully loved it – he was made for that atmosphere.

Unless you already had the pleasure, you won’t get a chance to meet Sully – but you and I can be like him. We can go all in, every day, and be present for our loved ones. We can challenge ourselves and never ever quit, always show up.

I’ve never been much of a believer in fate. Sometimes, though, you cross paths with the right person at the right time. Then you stand there like a deer in the headlights wondering what the odds are, that you would come across exactly the bump of encouragement you needed… and you start to think that maybe we’re not lost – just wandering. Thanks for the bump, Sully.