Why do I run? It took a contest by Geoff Roes (2010 Western States 100 Champion) to finally get me to sit down and really think about it. He asked us to write a 350 word essay about why we run. In return, the essay he thought best answered that question would win a free entry to one of his week long Alaska Mountain Ultrarunning camps. Spoiler alert: I didn't win.
Even though I didn't win, I wanted to share what I wrote to him in this post. As runners, we are often asked why we run. If you're like me, you feel the answer you give never really delivers the message you're trying to get across. Even if the pressure of having to immediately answer was taken away, it's still hard to do. Don't believe me? Before you read on, take a moment and think about it. Why do you run?
My response to Geoff:
In 2011 I started a blog to answer the very question you asked. I titled my blog, “I run because…” The title of my blog serves two purposes. 1) There is no one reason why I run and 2) each blog post I write is my best attempt at completing a very difficult sentence. It is difficult for me to finish that sentence because over my years of running, it continues to change. The reason I started to run 8 years ago is completely different for the reasons I run now. Moreover, when someone asks me why I run, I always find myself searching for that profound answer. More times than not, I feel I come up short.
I believe that when you are truly passionate about something, words can never fully express your emotions. It is something internal. It is a feeling you have that needs no words. But, after many years of pondering, this is what I’ve come up with:
I run because I love the way it makes me feel – happy.
I run because it is such a beautifully simple sport.
I run because of the amazing feeling I get when I exceed what I thought was ever possible.
I run because it calms me. It keeps me grounded. It humbles me.
I run because I love to explore and connect with nature.
I run because it helped me reunite with my dad after he passed. His presence is always most noticeable when I'm running. He is my source of strength.
I was apprehensive at first about sharing this because I feel it barely scratches the surface for why I run. Then, I realized something; it doesn’t matter if I’m ever able to fully communicate with a loved one, a friend, or a running mate the reasons for why I run. I know how running makes me feel and in the end, that’s all I need.
I run because it is my passion.