Runners are freaks. We fly in the face of adversity, encourage the best of each other and will be damned if a fellow runner quits. We wake up before the sun rises, with temperatures so low our snot frosts up as we line next to each other and prove this life can be more. Sometimes, we share nipple-chafing prevention secrets and vaseline jars, Gu Gels and gummy packets. We share stories of impossible hills and improbable heat. We do things to our body most sane people would gladly refrain from. Fuck, a rare few can shit standing up.
We all have our stories of how we joined the freak pack who would rather pop blisters in an ice bath than be sedentary. And we all have our purpose. It’s the conviction that keeps us coming back. The stubborn belief that this stupid fucking course can be finished not matter how tired I may seem. That one more step may not bring my brother back but will make me truly appreciate what I have and what can be done. Running pushes us to be better.
I see the horrors of today and can’t help think of the families who lost someone on a day that was meant to be the most positive, life-affirming moment of their lives. There is nothing human about crushing hope, commitment and a passion to improve.
Running, in it’s literal form, is a singular activity. Participating in a race, truly running, is community. It’s building a bridge to people you may never have come in contact with before. It’s having a conversation with a 55 year old diabetic who is proving they can finish. It’s running side by side with a 42 year old cancer survivor who is KICKING YOUR ASS on the the 13th mile. It’s getting lapped by your friend who is struggling with alcoholism and is in the best shape of his life. It’s saying “fuck you guy in a Captain America outfit, I will keep up with you even though you are running a mile a minute faster than I ever have.” It’s cheering on the final finisher of their first 5K, taking a picture of them with their kids as they clutch their medal like it’s a million dollar coin. Running is not fear. Running is community and we will not let a tragic event like this destroy our freakish nature.
My heart goes out to the families who lost someone today. I run for my brother who I lost in 2007 and I run for you.
For this week’s issue, Lauren Collins travels to France, where the actor Gérard Depardieu’s decision to become a Russian citizen and escape the Socialist party’s threatened tax increases is causing shock and turmoil: http://nyr.kr/12qc6pd
Don’t care about the article, just love the picture.