A collection of short essays from our community around the world.
Discovery. That is why I run. To discover how far I can really go. How far I can push my body & mind till they break. How high I can climb and how fast I can go. I run to discover new trails, new places, and new people. To go where I have never been before. I run to discover the things that others cannot, being fully aware that someday I will not be able to run myself. I run to discover if my doubts are correct. My doubts that tell me I will never be able to run an ultra-marathon. My doubts that tell me my asthma-infested lungs will defeat me. I run to overcome these doubts. To prove to myself that I am strong. To prove that I can endure suffering long after my body tells me to stop.
I run to discover pain that will kick my ass and leave me temporarily defeated. I run to discover a new me. One that is grateful for every moment of life that I am not suffering. Yet one that is far more grateful for every moment of life that I have the privilege to be suffering, knowing that it is only temporary. I run to discover a connection with nature. A connection that is at it’s strongest, when I am at my weakest. This connection pushes me to go further and continues to bring me back to the trails time and time again. I know someday my body will eventually fail me. It may be in 20 years or it may be in 50 years. But one thing that is for sure is that while I am able to put one foot in front of another, I will be running. I will be discovering. And the more I run, the more I will discover.
TO FEEL ALIVE
So why do I run? At 16 years old it was because the training staff ordered me to ‘get f*&kin’ moving’ in an attempt get the pampered bunch of momma's boys to act as a seamless military unit and get from point A to point B in the fastest time possible to engage the enemy with all the kit they needed!
Twenty Eight years later I run for completely different reasons; the enemy is an expanding waistline, long-haul flights and groundhog day hotel rooms, prolonged pointless meetings and the constant chirping of my mobile or desk phone. To run is to escape, to regroup, to re-establish order from chaos, to be in control of the pace, to feel, to conquer, to survive!
Running makes me physically and mentally stronger, helping to connect and align with what is important and what is not. Feeling the concrete, tarmac, paths, sand, mud, roots, rocks and snow under my feet gives me choices; easy route or hard, fast or slow, long run or short.
Whooping down the single track, digging deep for the long climb, breathing in the smells of wild garlic, the grass and pollen, the feeling of the sun, the wind and the rain against my skin, the aches of my joints, the release of the tension, the stress and the weight of the world.
I run to feel alive.
YOU'VE GOT TO BE A RUNNER
I run for peace of mind and peace of heart. I run to fill my soul and empty my mind. I run from my fears and my self-loathing. I run to feel strong and proud. I run to fill my lungs with new air and my mind with new thoughts. I run to get those feel-good endorphins flowing. I run because I can. I run because I fear a time when I won't be able to.
I run to feel my muscles, to feel them grow weak and grow strong. I run to check in with my body, to feel where I am sore and where I am growing stronger.
I run because I like when I'm getting my blood pressure tested, and the nurse checks the numbers and says, "You've got to be a runner."
I run because I like to sweat. I run to push myself. I run because it's fucking hard.
I run because I like cheeseburgers and pizza and beer.
I run because running is a natural laxative.
I run to be in the woods, on a trail, in the sun, in the rain; I run to be outside.
I run to be out in a twenty-degree snowfall, to see a fellow crazy runner, and smile a knowing smile to them; "Yeah. This is awesome."
I run because I am an animal, made for motion. I run because I’m a badass.
I run because it's an adventure every time. An hour, or 12 or 28 hours, it's an adventure with all that an adventure entails. I run because I like when it feels like I'm the only one awake. I run because I feel wild, like an ancient warrior or a wolf. Sometimes I imagine I'm carrying a spear.
I run because it's simple.
I run for the feelings I have during the run, the way I always feel great after I run and for the lessons and gumption I get through the mental and emotional process that occurs before running; especially when i don't want to go, and i go anyway. Can do anything after that.
I run because, for example when I turned 50 (fuck...) I ran a 50 miler (fuck yeah).
I run for me. I run for my kids. I run because it makes me a better person and thats good for everyone and for the entire planet (ripple effect). I run for present, future and because of past romances.
I run because every few weeks Led Zeppelin's Kashmire will cycle through on my i-pod while I'm running. A special sort of spiritual uplifting occurs when this happens (try it)
I run because when I'm way out there on a long trail run, regardless of my condition, i always smile when i can be present and aware of how awesome and cool it is that I am this far from the car, and i ran here, and I'm gonnna run back.
I run to see sunrises, it's always magic. I run to see mountains, plains, animals, birds, people, weird stuff you can't explain and to be close to this planet, it's creatures and its Spirit.
I run because amazing things happen to me inside and out before, during and after i run. I run because it's me being me, at my best.
-T. Scott Richards
My mother ran with me in her womb and then when my legs stopped wobbling I ran on my own free will. I ran for the cheering and the ice cream and the ribbons and the spandex and the trips with grandpa to the races and the trade shows and I ran until I broke down on a track 15 years later and wanted to walk away from it all. And I thought I did. But I was wrong. For a few years it was sporadic runs. In the streets. Down a path. A weird snowfall in the city, I would drop everything with a need to run. And I would run. And then it hit me hard one day and I got a dog and we started running and we found the lonely trails and the mud and the mountains and the streams and the steep, rocky climbs and I remembered who I was, my identity as a runner. And it all came back except the speed. But at least we got to keep the ice cream.