Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Why I run!

My Ultra running season is only 2 weeks from beginning. My last ultra race was the North Downs Way 100 in August last year. Those who have read my previous blog will know that this did not end well for me and I finished at mile 60. After much reflection I have been training hard and am ready to take on the ultra challenge of running 100miles. This year I will be attempting this not once but twice.

Everyone when told for the first time about Ultra running says to me "are you mad?" I quite probably am and truth be told I could come up with a million profound reasons why I do it. In the past I have used some of these reasons. The truth when all the profound reasons are stripped away is this.... I love running! It's that simple no fancy philosophical justifications. I run because I enjoy running.

My job and home life are busy and on the go. There is a lot of stress and pressure on a daily basis. At work I'm left feeling drained and some times shell shocked at the way some humans can behave. Running for me changes all this. The very action of lacing up my shoes is like mentally putting the day in a box or pressing the pause switch. After a run I feel refreshed and rejuvenated and better placed to take on tasks and challenges.

I'm always amazed by the running community and especially the Ultra community. The warmth and support shown to everyone is astounding. The mutual respect is shared from fastest to slowest runner and the only question ever asked is "did you do your best?" With Ultras (to an extent) time becomes irrelevant. The act of toeing the line shows the strength of the runner and pushing yourself further than you thought you could go takes you to a pure state of euphoria. What a way to spend a weekend.

The rising popularity of ultra running has also, in equal measure, given rise to those who question why we do it and assume we are all mental. Hey I think sitting by a stream with a rod in hand for hours to catch something and put it back is mental. This doesn't mean thousands don't love doing it.
What I love about ultras is the training and devotion required means everyone doing them regularly has the same unbridled passion. The simplest act of one foot in front of the other, becomes the greatest act of all.

I am very fortunate to have made several friendships via twitter. These friendships are all ultra runners. Some I've met and some I have not. Despite this each & every person is supportive of my goals, as I am of theirs. We laugh, cry, grimace, support and banta with each other. The most fun I've had in a training run was with Graham (@GrahamCarterGC), Max (@maximisemylife), Bryan (@bryanwe), Tom (@tomgoom) and Lee (@leebriggs9). It was an awesome weekend where our love of running transcended our diverse backgrounds. I can't think of another sport where this would so easily occur. Watching and in some small way supporting graham to his first ultra finish was a true pleasure.

Sharing in everyone's achievements gives me faith that in a world where we are increasingly isolated such community spirit can still thrive. The thought that come 15th June there will be several people checking live updates and twitter feeds to see how I'm doing is very humbling. It's also a great thought that we are all inspired by each other and the support received at Aid stations during ultras is always immense. This year I know a few people who will be at them and this will add to the enjoyment. When I cross the finish line my twitter feed will go mad, then we will all chat about it and plan how we can do it all again tomorrow.

This is why I run!

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