On mile 8 of my most recent half marathon, I found myself asking this question. Actually, it was less theoretically existential and more like ‘what the f#%& am I doing running…right now….right here…in this weather.’ But the general sentiment of ‘why am I doing this race and what does running mean to me?’ vacillated between the back and front of my mind throughout the whole ordeal. Did I say ordeal?
I’ve had these thoughts before. After my first half marathon, I found myself thinking…why? And during my second. The night before my third.
But on my long training runs, during the latter stages of a race, my mind always gives my body the same answer when it tries to slow down and threatens to quit.
There are those whose body won’t let them run, whose mind stops them from running, whose grief or pain is too heavy for them to run with. The universe is chaotic and I am subject to its whim and for no reason and with no warning, I could be stricken. My body can be injured, my mind can grow ill, my life could experience events that wear me right down.
But until then I am healthy, physically and mentally. I’m happy. I’m supported and able. I run for those who want to but can’t. For those who would if they could. For those who should but haven’t yet. I run because I can.