People often have a misconception that running is a boring activity. Majority would stigmatize it as a pointless exertion of energy aimed at achieving nothing aside from very sore feet, a drenched t-shirt and back pains for the next few days.
Undoubtedly, running unlike most sports does not have an end ‘goal’. It is not a numbers game as opposed to those such as golf and basketball to name a few. There really is no solid basis to determine if a person has won or lost, qualified or not. Some may argue that ‘time & distance’ is its measure; it is important to realize however that it is not the end goal that carries more weight rather the quality of the run at hand. One can run 5km in 25 minutes and another can run it in 35 minutes with the former on perfectly flat ground and the latter on slopping hills. Which one would you say has accomplished more in the end?
If given some thought, you realize that running in its simplicity, is an individual sport involving the natural movement of feet. Where’s the complexity and thrill in that? How could something as natural and simple as running, be exciting? Maybe this is the main point that people constantly drive at, but unconsciously do so. They attack running as a pointless activity but fail to tackle it at its very core.
In its sheer simplicity and individualism, running has become a sport of the outcast. Given today’s modern setting, interpersonal activities and cross-specialized teams are becoming the norm. Efficiency, teamwork and sociability are set as the standard, generalizing rather than individualizing the common man; why else would basketball, volleyball and other team-based sports receive so much praise and media coverage.
Running however is ostracized as the opposite. Exercising your individualism, it exudes a ‘you versus the world’ mentality, runners immerse themselves in a whole other dimension, separating the self from the others, dream from day and life from death. Whilst people are busy using their time on a limited and highly structured system, runners are investing their time in creating their own goals and conquering them, not through the power of a team, but through their own sheer will and strength. They separate themselves rather than join with the rest, not afraid to stand out from those who are too afraid to take the plunge. It is a process of self-discovery, where being lost in the world actually helps you find yourself. It is in this time of no purpose, that a person truly finds his/her calling. At a point where there is no team, no structure, and no world but just you; you in your sheer naked glory, will finally understand who you truly are. Label this as ‘isolationism’ but at the end of the day, life really is just a one-man struggle.
This is what those who criticize running are truly afraid of. To take up the responsibility of conquering the challenge presented before them, no systems to back them up or numbers on their side, just you & your body against a seemingly impossible feat. Once you realize this, everything is only a matter of how much you believe in yourself. As the saying goes, “The body may be weak, but the mind is strong.”
This is why I run, this is why I survive. I refuse submission and so should you.
Next time someone criticizes a runner, look them in the eye and say, “See you at the finish line! If you even get there. J”
Lace up, run and conquer yourself!