Why do I run?

If memory serves me, I began running when I was about 14. That was 1977. If I recall it was also during a time, in the sports world when there was this thing called the “running boom.” People ran with no particular intention other than to be healthy. I recall being laughed at by passing motorists with jeers from the riders.

The question about why I run was not easy for me to answer, then or now. The difference between 1977 and the present is running is a more accepted form of exercise and frankly I don’t care what people think. I love to run.

1977 saw the publishing of a book which I continue to reread. The book, written by Dr. George Sheehan is titled, “Running and Being: The Total Experience.” This book was amazing to me. It put a smile on my face and answered a question I struggled to put into words. Doc Sheehan used philosophy to answer the question and even then, for the non-runner, the book, its contents and the answer to why runners run was never answered. That answer is in all of us.

I don’t recall the reason or reasons why I began to run. I simply recall deciding I would “go for a run” one day and I enjoyed the experience. I enjoyed the freedom I felt. That freedom continues today.

In his book “The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life”, Amby Burfoot talks about comments made by his mentor John J. Kelley. Kelly said, “Why run? And that is because I am an animal. I run because it is part of my genetic wiring. I run because millions of years of evolution have left me programmed to run. And, finally, I run because there is no better way to see the sun rise and set.”

The reasons why I run are simple. It is an activity which requires little with respect to gear and in that sense it is that simplicity which attracts me. Running also meets my need for solitude. I enjoy my time alone and cherish being alone with my thoughts. This activity, introspection, I am sure is frightening to many. To me it is more spiritual than attending church.

This is why I run. I run because I am me.


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