Run For Your Life

I love to run but I have no desire to run a Marathon. Why is that? What separates those of us that are happy to do ten kilometres or less with those that just keep on going and going? I’ve met marathoners and I can’t say I’ve picked up on that common attribute apart from a determination. It can be said that all runners have that. Whether I run 5k, 10k or 15k it still requires a determination to warm up and go out three times a week in the rain and wind and get them done. So I guess it’s some kind of ‘super-determination’ where more and more, the running becomes the key aspect of the marathoners life. That’s not a bad thing either. It is said that exercise can abate depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. So it’s good for the body and good for the mind. In terms of your health and well being just about every benefit you can achieve from running can be attained on a sub-10k run but there are those who still want more. While I would never downplay marathon running, there is something else at play that is neither just stubbornness and determination or for the endorphin fix.

Steve Gurney. Nine time winner of the 'Coast to Coast'.

Steve Gurney. Nine time winner of the ‘Coast to Coast’.

Take ultra-marathon running (over 50km). This is another step again and often in the most trying conditions. There comes a point where you run out of road doesn’t there? I was told of a man in Canada who would get up in the morning run 50 kilometres then do a ‘nine to five’ job and then go for a run after work for a similar distance again. Even if he was running four minute kilometres that is almost seven hours of running a day. Tie that in with nine hours at the office and you have eight hours left to sleep. There are very few people who would consider that a life but if you are going to win ultra-marathon events, I guess that is the sort of training that has to be done. Steve Gurney the ‘Coast to Coast’ (243km multi-discipline event) legend probably had to train like this and goodness knows what injuries he has now. In fact he nearly died of Leptospirosis(carried in bat dung) after running in caves in Malaysia so you can be a superhuman athlete and yet be susceptible to the same things as us commoners. Steve Gurney is one case but if people are ultra-marathon running for fame and glory then how does tenth place make them feel? How does twentieth place feel for that matter? Again I’m not belittling all the effort but merely getting to the heart of the matter. If you were to ask them all if they loved running, would they say yes? These are all valid points but there surely comes a threshold where love has nothing to do with it and it’s merely about crossing a distant line.

When the Boston Marathon attack occurred a year ago there was footage that showed people trying to finish the race after the explosion. Perhaps that is what that finishing line does to people and no emergency worker or even axe wielding fireman is going to get you to run a ‘did not finish’. Perhaps that is why I have never run competitively. I don’t want to get caught up in the running and forget about all the other things I have going on. Still, for those out there that live and breathe to run, I can kind of get an inkling as to where you’re coming from but I have no chance of catching you up to see where you’re going to…

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