Friday, 10 December 2010

All my mates run too

I am fortunate to have a number of very good runners among my friends. Some of them have been running for years, others only took up the sport recently, and a select few only run because someone's bullied them into it. I thought I would ask some of them to scribble down a few words on what motivates them to lace up their running shoes. I've collated the first batch of answers here - more to follow.

Rich Harker, one of the people who gave me a huge amount of support when I was a beginner, is not as fat as we like to pretend he is. He insists he won't run another marathon until I beat his PB.
I run because…I’m fat. Well I guess that’s not strictly true; I run because I love food. At least I think that’s the reason. It’s simple logic you see: running burns calories, I enjoy more calories per day than is allowed; thus running allows me to enjoy a gluttonous lifestyle. It all started a long time ago as a way of getting fit for the various sports I played: rugby, football etc, and then became a sport within its own right, and now I’m hooked. Although I didn’t start running so I could eat a lot, after years of running a lot I have spent a comparable amount of time replacing the extra calories to the extent that I am concerned that if I stop running I will end up like shamoo [the Sea World Killer Whale]…Maybe I run because of fear? Or maybe I just love to run…

Chris Martin, a very talented runner from San Francisco, California, was put on this earth to run all over it. His 3:20 marathon PB inspires and terrifies me.
I run because… 
It's probably the only way to play in the mud and still feel like a kid…and it's ok.   In what other sports do you run UP a hill, stop, go back down, then run up AGAIN!? I can turn to non-runners and say: "I ran 13 miles today and was glad to have the opportunity." I still enjoy the slack-jawed expressions I receive from that one. 
Basically, we can be proud to count ourselves amongst the craziest of athletes.  
What is "off-season?"  
Dare to spit into the wind -  
There is no hill. 
I think that counts as a shoddy attempt at haiku, right? ;) 

Megan Crawford is too outrageously modest to admit to being one of the most successful runners I know. Next time you're watching a road race on TV, look for her loitering at the back of the elite field, chatting incessantly while the Kenyans are desperately trying to zone her out enough to focus on the race ahead...
I run because... it keeps me sane. The road is never bitchy- she never tells me my hair is a mess (and she has seen it at its worst). The trail never lies to me- she is long, she is tricky and there will always be obstacles, but she never failed to tell me this. The path is always happy to see me, she laughs and is tickled by my tinkering feet upon her surface. The course is consistent- she guides and supports me whilst encouraging me to deviate, to get lost and to be independent. I run because she has been the closest friend that I have to this day, but she is still throwing up things to surprise me (or trip me up!). 

Andrew Duncan, who seems to specialise at every distance from 1500m to the half marathon, has been running all over the UK and USA for more years than he cares to remember. He is usually to be found in the shortest of short shorts on the muddiest of muddy trails.
I run because I like it. I can run in any weather, anywhere, at any time. I can run in a pack of thousands, alone, or with a good friend. I need no particular equipment beyond my shoes. I can compete against other people or against myself. 
For a sport that can be almost proverbially lonely, the camaraderie is superb. Conversations spark up with the person sitting next to you at the shoe-shop, standing next to you at the start-line, or heading the same way on some muddy trail. 
Running all year round can be grim at times, especially on cold, dark, wet days where leaving the house is miserable. But it's no good hiding indoors all day; braving the weather toughens, and makes the return to a warm and dry house all the more pleasant. When halcyon times roll round, in glorious sunshine and warm zephyrs, the runs are all the sweeter, partly because it's easier to appreciate the good weather, and partly because all the people who didn't train in the grim winter are well behind!

Kylie Rodier, an Aussie in London with unstoppable running drive, has probably seen her health and wellbeing improve now she's escaped St Andrews Cross Country socials for the bright lights of the city...
I run because it's the only sport I can actually do. At least, that's how I started out. After going through various phases of apathy and depression with my ability to run, I have discovered that I'm best when running longer distances. Now, when I'm doing six+ miles, I love it. So: I do it because it eases my soul, it's therapeutic, it puts me in tune with my body, it pushes me physically and mentally, it's a form of ingrained discipline and respect for myself, and it's possibly the only healthy habit I have. It makes me feel fantastic. And it gives me the firmest arse out of all my non-running friends. KACHING.

Nature hasn't yet invented a terrain that Annie Le can't dominate. Barefoot. She enters the kind of races dreamt up by lunatics and evil masterminds, ideally with a mountain or two in the way.
I run because it gives me freedom. It gives me a chance to be in my own world, to think things through and sort out my life. Friend, uni or relationship problems all seem small and insignificant when I'm knee deep in mud, covered in nettle stings and lost several miles from anywhere. Running up and down mountains, over rocks and through bog forces me to be in the present, the only worry I have is where to put my feet so I don't face plant. It breaks life down into simply putting one foot in front of the other. Running lets me get a bit closer to discovering who I am and gives me amazing adventures along the way.

Rich, Chris, Megan, AD, Kylie, Annie, thanks so much for contributing. There's another answer for me in there too - I run because all my mates run too.

I wouldn't normally make a plea for readers to post comments, but if you enjoyed reading, are horrified by or somehow relate to what our guest bloggers have written, please take a minute or two to say so - click '0 comments' at the bottom of this post or type in the box at the bottom of the page.

Happy running


P.S. If you know why you run (or at least have a rough idea) and would like to contribute to this catalogue of running theory, you can email me a paragraph of roughly 150 words which I'll almost certainly post in the next batch of answers. Unless it's full of obscenities, or lies. I reserve the right to add a bio of you, unless I don't know you at all, in which case perhaps you might like to write it yourself...

P.P.S. Hello Egypt!

No comments:

Post a Comment