Spotlight on…Eugene Warrington

Life beyond accounting

Eugene is a Certified Public Accountant, a Fellow of the Malta Institute of Accountants and a STEP member.

Eugene has in the last 30 years held various positions in the industry and in audit. In 2003 he joined Bentley Trust (Malta) Ltd as part of the start-up team where he was appointed Director and Chief Financial Officer.

All of us live incredibly fast-paced lives. We commute to work and get caught in daily traffic jams causing us frustration in the early hours of the day. We have deadlines to meet, meetings to go to and never-ending lists of ‘things to do’. Craze for speed has become the order of the day and juggling all this with the responsibilities at home is certainly no mean feat.

Some people cope remarkably well with the pressures in their lives. They know when to take time out, look at the situation differently or turn to others for support. Unfortunately, many more people cope with stress in ways that are actually self-destructive.

Even though you can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, you can learn sound ways to manage it and prevent much of the stress you experience. What most people don’t realise is that a lot of the stress we encounter is self-imposed. We contribute to our own stress when we don’t plan ahead, cheat ourselves on sleep, work too many hours, ignore relationship problems or procrastinate, among many other forms of behaviour.

While stress is an inevitable part of life, there are ways how one can learn to manage stress. While one reads about a wide spectrum of coping techniques, exercise remains the one most recommended by healthcare professionals. Various studies clearly show that exercise is extremely effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. When stress affects the brain, and with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. So it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind!

It is precisely for this reason that from a very young age exercise has formed part of my daily routine. Be it a Division II basketball league game at age 15, five-a-side football, a friendly game of squash or tennis, I would always participate. Mostly for the fun of it, but still giving it my best shot, until I suffered a serious knee injury which unfortunately limited the choice of sport I could do due to its recurrence.

My love for sport however did not subside, and it was my own physiotherapist who at the time advised and enticed me to take up running. Having never run before, the idea to start running at 45 years of age sounded daunting but the need to satisfy my appetite for sport made me go for it. Running on my own wasn’t easy. Many were the days when I would be on the verge of giving up but the mere desire to accomplish and prove to myself that I could do it kept me trying. Months went by and along the way I discovered numerous other benefits. I started to get in better shape, made some new friends and found countless hours to reflect on my life. Many runners like to run listening to music and I thought I did too – until the first time I ran without. I soon began to love the quietness. I was able to listen to my body and focus on the run. In addition, my mind was freed up to think about my life and evaluate it. I had then grown to love the silence. Although far from an expert in the field, having experienced the thrill of the sport, I decided to take the plunge and run the first Half Marathon race in 2006.

Eugene Warrington

Having experienced the marathon, where people from all walks of life come together for a common cause, to push their own limits and collectively to push each other, I decided to start taking running more seriously and was thus introduced to a renowned coach Ivan ‘Russu’ Roshnov who through a lot of hard work, dedication and commitment encouraged and guided me to build and brush up my running techniques. Seeing that running had by then become an integral part of my life, in 2009 I moved on to join the Mellieha Athletic Club where I continued to develop my running skills under the mentorship of Dutch coach Has Kesra.

Running has, over the years, become a type of ‘moving meditation’ or a mindfulness practice. Other activities don’t allow that. Running gives me a continuum for communication with my mind and body and an opportunity to deepen that connection. I run for the sheer enjoyment that it brings with it. I appreciate it for the unique activity that it is and the freedom of mind and body that it provides. And sometimes, I even crave it a little bit!

Running has, over the years, become a type of ‘moving meditation’ or a mindfulness practice. Other activities don’t allow that. Running gives me a continuum for communication with my mind and body and an opportunity to deepen that connection. I run for the sheer enjoyment that it brings with it. I appreciate it for the unique activity that it is and the freedom of mind and body that it provides. And sometimes, I even crave it a little bit!

Running has essentially widened my social circle. My running routine gives me a positive outlook on life, discipline and most importantly good health. No matter where in the world I may be, I always put on my trainers and hit the road. Running has also given me the opportunity to take part in races offshore… Pisa, Edinburgh, Reading, Lisbon, Dublin, Almere and recently, Bath.

Like any other sport, training, time commitment and self-discipline are critical. Self-discipline involves acting according to what you think instead of how you feel in the moment. Most of my training happens in the early hours of the day very often prior to 5 a.m., come rain or shine. Training must also be coupled by healthy eating habits particularly low carb and sugar intake as well as controlled alcohol consumption, though I have to admit that at times I find it hard to resist the occasional glass of full-bodied tasty red wine.

Prior to a marathon race the attention to food intake ranks even higher on a runner’s agenda. Carb starvation becomes the order of the day a week before, whereas carb loading happens closer to the race. Given that our body is 65% water, as for the days running up to the race, being properly hydrated is critical.

Putting my running shoes on for a good cause makes running an even more unbeatable experience. Since my first marathon in 2006, I have run in aid of various charitable institutions among which were Inspire, Faces and the Angie Bajada Foundation. In the last few years I have been running in aid of Hospice Malta which objective is to design, build and operate a 21-bedd oncology inpatient unit for palliative clients.

This year was officially my 10th year of running the Malta Half Marathon having first run the event in 2006 as a beginner. Over the years I have noted a steady increase in participation and this year was no exception. This year’s Vodafone Malta Marathon was yet another day to remember. Malta was painted red for the day and the atmosphere at the Sliema Ferries finish line was electric. All participants were out in force, in spite of the far from perfect weather conditions particularly the gale Force 6 – 7 wind speed.

Running is about challenging yourself and pushing yourself to achieve the very best that you can do. Racing competitively is all about beating your own time. It has nothing to do with coming in first or trying to keep up with the leader of the pack. Every time you cross the finish line think about how far you came and how much further you can truly push yourself to go. Try to improve each time you cross the finish line and the rush or pride and excitement will always be waiting for you on the other side.

That feeling of success will start to carry over into your personal and professional life. Once you have used your drive and determination to push your body through the finish line, you will feel like you are capable of anything. The more goals you meet, then the more goals you will want to set for yourself. Isn’t the purpose of life to live it to your fullest potential?

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