Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Art of Running

My High School English teacher, Richard Daukas, suggested that running is an art form. I agreed with him then, and I agree with him now, more than 30 years later. Running allows me to express myself. Like other art forms, it has minimal utilitarian value. And, while some people like me feel driven to do it, many other people just don't "get it." That is ok. There is no need for everyone else to get it. But it is sure is nice when some people do.

As with other art form, running can bring joy both to the artist and, if done right, to an audience as well. Watching Kilian Jornet run down the Alps or the Pyrenees is like listening to Bach or Brahms. Kilian possesses incredible skills, but beyond that he displays an energy and shear joy of running that is a pleasure to watch.

While Kilian is perhaps the most skilled downhill runner on the planet, I've seen that energy and passion in runners of much more pedestrian talents. My friend and training partner, Jack Rosenfeld, exudes the same shear passion for running as Kilian, even though his abilities are more modest. It is my privilege to see him run on a regular basis. The photo show here is at the end of his first sub-three hour marathon. Although many have run faster, few have worked harder or deserved it more.

One of the key elements of running is understanding that you can only really compete with yourself. No matter who you are, there will always be someone faster and someone slower. All world records eventually fall. And, if you see running as solely about getting from one place to another, you are missing the point entirely. Certainly, doing your best is what it is all about. But it is your best that counts, not whether your best happens to be faster or slower than the next guy.

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