Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why do I Run?

Many of us are at that age where we “feel” that our best is past us and the so called vestiges of old age are beginning to creep in. We hear of someone in our known circles being detected with a lifestyle related ailment and think “Oh, but he or she is only XX years!”. Some of us remember our early days when we were thinner, fitter and generally more active. We make resolutions on New Years, Birthdays, Anniversaries and all other such occasions about working on our fitness and staying healthy. Sometimes we follow it through but mostly the rigour of daily routine and the demands of our professional and personal lives take a toll and the resolution becomes just a paper exercise.

Why did I start running? I was never into running, not even as a child. I have played cricket, some amount of football, badminton and the usual games children normally play but running, never ever. I was present at school track and field events but only in the audience. All through my growing years, the only running I did was to catch the bus or the train. Then came the first Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon in the year 2004. Surrounded and mesmerised by the hype, I went for the event – but again as part of the audience. The huge crowds, the carnival-like atmosphere and the enthusiasm levels were so infectious that I found myself part of a huge group of “runners” in the Dream Run (7.5 kms then) category in the second version of SCMM in 2005. Suffice it to say, enthusiasm was one thing and actually finishing 7.5 kms was another and the next day found me unable to move a muscle without groaning. But the seed had been planted and year after year, I took part in the Dream Run till the year 2010. That year, the crowd participating in the Dream Run was overwhelming – one could not run at all, it was more like getting in and out of a crowded local train at peak hours. On whim, I decided that I wanted no more of this and that the next year, I would take part in the half-marathon. And from there it continued.

With that background, why do I run? What makes me wake up at a god forsaken early hour and drag myself out? This is it as I see it:

-      The most basic of reasons, it helps keep me on my feet and fit and builds my endurance

-      Running is one of the few times I get to be really alone, something really needed

-      A long run is one of the few places in life where you are not competing with anyone but your own self

-      It gives me a chance to breathe easy, I mean really breathe easy

-      You automatically belong to a band of brothers (and sisters) who may be vastly different from you in real life but out there, you just run

-      You get to look up to and get inspired by some truly fantastic people

-      It makes me treat my body better and not abuse it with unhealthy food or unnecessary strains

-      While this may sound filmi, running helps me find myself and takes me where I would not usually go

-      Running is pure, it is untainted; it makes me be a better person and helps me reach out to others as well

-      Running takes me from strength to strength – makes me feel I can do anything. I had never in my wildest dreams thought I could last 10 kms, forget 21 km!

-      Off late, it has helped my introduce people I care about to the joys of running and that in itself a high that can never fail

-      A marathon (or half) is a analogy for a good life lived; there are moments of pure bliss, then those of doubt, pain and even despair but at the end, when you finish you feel it was all worth it

-      Most marathons support some charity or the other so it is also a way to give something back to the needy

-      Running teaches me to fight through obstacles and not just let things go

-      It pushes me to take myself seriously, take myself head on and beat myself the next time round

-      During a marathon, there are moments of self doubt where you may feel like you’re done and then that one cheer or shout out from someone unknown can pull you up and help you sail through

-      The high you get from finishing a marathon can only be believed if experienced once

-      And last but not the least, I run to tell my disbelieving body that I can and I will.

Each one of us has different reasons for running. Some of us more than the others. The point is, when we are all out there, pounding the pavement or roads or tracks or wherever we are, we are all in the same single-mindedness and purity that running brings. So, why do YOU run? 

1 comment:

Sibesh Sen said...

For a billion people the word Sachin is associated with cricket but for a handful of us it stands for running...keep running mate and keep increasing your pack...go the distance. Best regards, Sibesh