Many say running is freedom, as close to flying as we can get. I think that is true, but I think it is so much more than that. You do fly. Just a little bit in between each step, just enough to keep you wanting it more and more. You find enough freedom from life’s burdens to keep you craving it.
Running is making the world go dark, making everything that does not matter disappear. Nothing matters but the steps and the breaths that you take. Every single one of them, one by one, counts. I have yet to find another time of my life where I am so thankful for and focused on each formerly unconcious breath.
Everyone is equal, all united by the same great, addicting love. There are no language, cultural, racial, economic or political barriers or confines. There is nothing but the same fire to run burning in each of our hearts.
Nothing can defeat the determination and mutual respect of a runner. Though I cannot speak for everyone, I think distance runners can understand that. I think every runner can respect and be humbled by pushing his mind and body farther than he ever thought it could possibly go. The only things that matter are running and being the most encouraging, humble, and selfless friends and competitors possible.
Running is an addiction, an obsession. To me it is an obsession with seeing the entire world, one race and one adventure at a time. It is an obsession with being so in-tune to my body that I can compete giving everything it has, and be awed by what it can do. It is an obsession with pursuing my love to its fullest extent. It is challenging, and sometimes it feels more challenging than anything else in this world. Sometimes it means running on the edge of your mind’s limits, balancing them with those of your body. But, I promise every step is worth it in the end.
The emotion, the energy, that keeps me going is incomparable to anything else. Not many things make me emotional like running does. And that is how I know it is what I am called to do. The fact that it has the capacity to move me to tears instantaneously is how I know it is the reason why I am alive. It is one of the reasons why I am here on this earth, at this very time. Running pulls and tugs at the strings of my soul every second of every day. It is a constant yearning and aching of my mind and muscles to give themselves to the greatest passion, excitement and dedication I have ever known.
To me running is the ultimate symbol of perserverence and resilience. The reasons we pursue running may be different. It might be because it is the reason we are alive. It might be to lose weight. It might be simply to stay healthy or relieve stress. But I promise you if you pursue it with your whole heart and soul, it will lead you to places you could never dream of. It will take you on a journey to discovering the deepest parts of you and the world, the parts you never knew existed.
It will show you who your true supporters are. The friends that wake up at 3:00 AM on raceday just to be with you. The ones that stand in the freezing cold for hours and hours just to cheer you on. The ones that do these things to show you that their love for you is as great as your love for running. And these are the people that you do anything for and hold in your heart forever.
It will also show you the people in your life that may not support you, even the ones that try to drag you down. But those faint attempts at putting out your heart’s firey eagerness to be the best don’t matter. They only remind you of how lucky you are to have something so absolutely worth pursuing. If you are a runner, you have a perserverance, resilience and outlook on life that many will never have. And, it will carry you to places many will never dare to go.
It will carry you to people from every single walk of life. I wish everyone could feel what we felt in Chamonix. By that I mean to feel the beauty of people from every country, political, economic, cultural, and language background uniting themselves for one common passion. In our case, it is running. On a grander scale, it is humanity. There is no “they”. There is no “them”. There is just the humanity we are all a part of, just us.
And if anyone says that running is just running, that it is just a thing of accomplishing great physical feats, I find them to be wrong. It is so much more than that. Running has taught me all of these things and more, with the help of all of the wonderous people that have been a part of my life. And I wish the rest of the world could know what it feels like to come together like runners do, to come together to help each other accomplish great things that some may deem impossible, like circumnavigating 129.5 miles and climbing 29,035.43 feet around Mont Blanc in less than 16 hours.
Every single one of us is here on this earth, at this time, for a reason. The reason is to take care of each other, to lift each other up because we are all the same. Runners do this, and running has taught me this. We are all made of skin, bones, blood, heart, and soul. We all cry the same tears. We all bleed the same way. Pain is a universal thing to all of us. Runners understand this.
You see, running has taught me so much more than just the perserverence and resilience that I mentioned above. It has helped teach me about the deepest parts humanity; about how easily we can be all united together for one common thing if we want to be, and only if we ALL choose to be. As we drive ourselves to accomplish such difficult and wonderous things, we discover the deepest parts of our human being in doing so. We find them in ourselves, when we are forced to dig into the most hidden parts of our hearts. We find them in each other, when we realize how much we need each other to take just one more step forward. This reminds me of the goodness of people each and every day.
I truly hope this finds you well.
All my love,