Why I run

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I run because life is short and there are no moral imperatives save only these: to the weak you owe solidarity, to yourself you owe change. My father in his youth raged against the “bowler hat”, by which he meant the prospect of a life predictable from day to day, a life structured always around the same few relationships, a life overwhelmed by the routine of work. He saw that possibility and he rebelled equivocally against it. I share with him that restlessness. A life of movement, he grasped, and I agree with him, is a life fulfilled. A sedentary life is a life voluntarily diminished.

Running has taken me to places that I would not otherwise have seen, it has made the familiar wholly exciting and new. It has taught me a discipline in myself that was all the more powerful because it was embedded in my chest, arms and legs. It has taken me away from the person that I might otherwise have been.

I will be old; I do not doubt that I will be alone. And in that moment, when I look back at my life, I demand the right to reminisce fondly and regret nothing.

[from my book Lives; Running]

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3 responses »

  1. Hi David. Thanks for posting this. It made me think about why I run. Nearly 4 years ago, in the depths of a mental heath crisis, I moved to a flat overlooking Millfields Park and was inspired to get out there and run by all of the people I saw running past my window. I ran round the marshes, walked my dog, met lots of people and felt safe. It was a struggle to keep up with it at times. I was receiving Employment Support Allowance and therefore subjected to horrendous Atos medicals and constant challenges and stops to my benefits. Those brown envelopes nearly tipped me over the edge at times. (How sick that Atos are an Olympic games “partner” when they are responsible for forcing sick & disabled people in to poverty & suicide.) It took a long time but gradually I recovered and I’ll always be thankful for the green space and the friends I made in the local community who probably had no idea how much their gentle hellos touched me. I know that running saved my life and I owe so much to these marshes because of that. I’d love to be part of the 2nd Alternative Torch Relay on the 27th – especially because it’s coming to Leyton Marsh – but I’m very slow! So if you’d like someone to bring up the rear, please let me know.
    In solidarity
    Shahron Shah
    Save Leyton Marsh campaign

    • Thanks so much for yours Shahron, and I look forward to running with you on Friday. Our group won’t be fast; we’re running for pleasure not to race. And speaking for myself, although I was fast when I was a kid, these days I seem to be injured more often than I can run.

      • Thanks David! I’m looking forward to it! I’ll be joining the send off today in Stratford so see you there.

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