Enterprise: Eurasian Group LLP
Position: Expert within Social Projects Department
The barriers are in your head
Arkady Gubarev shows that it is possible to achieve anything as long as you have faith and persevere in the face of adversity.
When Arkady was born, doctors diagnosed him with infantile cerebral palsy, as a result of which, he had to be home-schooled. The eldest in the family, he always made sure he was there for his parents, supporting them in any way possible, including helping raise his four younger brothers and sisters. When the family bought their first computer, he was not interested in games like most kids his age would be, instead, he enjoyed fiddling around with the circuitry and programming. This early fondness for programming eventually led him to pursue a career in IT. After graduating from the 9th grade, he enrolled in college as a software technician. Everything seemed to be falling into place, he was studying what he loved, thinking constantly about his prospects in the IT industry, until one day, he was asked to enter a marathon.
“I remember when I got a call from the Disabled Persons' Federation,” he recalls. “They asked me if I wanted to run the Astana marathon. I responded with a long silence. But then I decided to give it a try. I arrived at 5 in the morning for training under the guidance of the famous ultramarathoner, Marat Zhylanbayev. He first taught us the basics and technique, and then he proceeded to make us run 100 meters. I remember I was practically crawling by the end of the race. I had aches and pains all over and my heart was palpitating furiously. After the race, Marat told me that I was unlikely to make the team but invited me to the next training anyway.”
Arkady began exerting himself more and more during training, giving it his absolute best, refusing to give up even when the sessions got tough. Soon enough, his trainer started believing in him. “You can do it!”, he told him and that motivated Arkady. Incredibly, in August 2017, Arkady completed his first 10 km race!
“Naturally I immediately went over to my friends at the Federation and told them about what I had just achieved, explaining that I had faced incredible difficulties while running the race, but still managed to get there in the end. They didn’t believe me in the beginning but afterwards I managed to persuade three of them,” he proudly notes. “My family was also sceptical about my hobby at first, but after seeing the result they were incredibly happy and proud of me – and promised to join me in my next event.”
Running helped Arkady make many friends who shared his passion and supported his endeavours. And that's especially valuable when one has been stuck indoors for so many years due to illness. After an impressive result, it was impossible to stop Arkady. He went constantly to training, practicing three to seven times a week. He was training for new victories. Which he attained! These included races in Almaty and Karaganda, whose distance of 21 km made them half marathons. He now has 13 marathons under his belt! During this time, he also tried to take dance lessons, but didn’t manage, so he decided to postpone them.
“One day at training, Olzhas Urazbayev, (Head of ERG Centre for Sports and Healthy Lifestyle) approached me and offered me a job at the Group. At that time, I was about to graduate from college and, frankly, I was worried about not getting a job. Mr. Urazbayev’s approach was a pleasant surprise,” Arkady fondly recalls.
Arkady Gubarev has been an employee of ERG for almost a year and a half. In the beginning it was difficult to get used to working as part of a team, meeting professional duties, and adapting to the constant demands of work. But nothing is impossible, especially as far as Arkady is concerned. Now he deals with social issues in the Human Resources Unit and conducts preparations for several projects, one of which he led. As part of the project, he began to unite ERG employees who share his passion for running and encouraged them to meet up on the Strava fitness app. It constitutes a diverse, international community and through the app, you can count your kilometres. At the end of the year, the leadership of the Group converts each kilometre to 1 cent and all the proceeds go to support those in need.
Arkady’s motivational message is as follows:
“Open the door! The barriers are in your head. Just take the first step and the rest will follow! Thanks to running, I am constantly in a better mood and experience an incomparable feeling of freedom. Now I can get to the bus stop without help and go in the direction I need. That is very valuable.”
Arkady is very good-natured and sociable. In his spare time, he likes to sing from the repertoire of Denis Maidanov. He regularly trains, swims and constantly strengthens his health. He plans to conquer the full marathon (42.2 km), the Ironman Triathlon and master the game of table tennis. And that is not all. This is only the beginning of his long, incredible journey.
The story sent by: Gulbarshin AKHANOVA