When I started running as a third grader, the health benefits of running were largely unknown. Even if I had been aware of the blessings running provides, it wouldn’t have mattered. I was way too young to care. Nevertheless, for the vast majority of us who start running as adults, the bounty of health benefits have always been cited as the main reason why so many begin to run.
It has been said by folks a whole lot wiser than me that running is medicine. And, it is absolutely true. There have been so many studies done on the health aspects of running that it is beyond dispute that running can play a leading role in preventing so many of the common maladies that cripple the average inert American. As little as 30 minutes of running four or five days a week, can go a long way to preventing (or reducing the risk) of such diseases as obesity, strokes, heart disease, some cancers, high blood pressure as well as to reduce arthritis, quit smoking and a variety of addictions and other diseases.
So it is beyond dispute that running will help you live a longer and healthier life. But, I would like to pose a question: If running did not convey any physical healthful benefits whatsoever (but was not damaging to your health), would you still continue to run and race? Would you still get up before dawn to put in the miles, the hills, the speed work? Would you still run through the heat and humidity of a Texas summer?
I would. My educated guess is you would too.
Even if running didn’t do a lick for our overall physical health, it would still do plenty for our emotional well being. We have a more positive and mental outlook on life, we eat and sleep better and are less prone to debilitating depression because of something as simple as our daily run.
But, more than anything else, running gives us a deeply satisfying feeling we can replicate on a daily basis. Running is that one anchor in our life. Not every run is epic, but each one provides something positive and rewarding that—over time–goes a long way to making us the kind of person who we have become.
Daniel Libeskind, the world renowned Polish-American master architect, said: “Life is not just a series of calculations and a sum total of statistics, it’s about experience, it’s about participation, it is something more complex and more interesting than what is obvious.”
If that’s true—and I believe it is—running has added to and shaped our lives incalculably. The health benefits are merely a bonus.
We are who are based on the sum of our experiences. Obviously, we have had a wide variety of experiences, way beyond running, but what we have gained through running—the races, the long runs, the discipline, the successes/failures–is what constitutes our core.
Running doesn’t just add years to our lives; it adds character and depth and, in part, defines who we’ve become.
O Good news for all my friends running Boston on Patriot’s Day. The all-important weather forecast for Monday looks OK with temps in Hopkinton for the start in the low 50s with a bit of cloud cover and no threat of rain. It will probably heat up fairly quickly though and might reach the mid-60s by the time most finish in downtown Boston on Boylston Street. There will be a wind, but the forecast calls for it to be out of the west—a tailwind. Weather for the entire Boston weekend should be good without any precip.
O More Boston. My friend and former colleague Amby Burfoot, who won the 1968 Boston Marathon, is running Boston once again. He isn’t competitive any longer, but now gently jogs the course with friends and family in 4:15-4:30. When Amby finishes on Monday, he’ll be—I believe–the oldest champion (69) still running. BTW: Amby’s new book–The First Ladies of Running–will be out this spring.
O Last Boston. Among the hundreds of Central Texans making their annual pilgrimage to Boston is Mary Faria, the CEO of Seton Southwest. Mary’s 60 and Boston will be her 33rd marathon and first in her new age group. Mary has trained for years under Carmen’s Troncoso’s Rogue group and to this day I have–literally–never seen Mary running or racing without a smile on her face. There’s a nice story on Mary on the Seton website: www.supportseton.org/seton-hays-foundation/2016-marys marathon.
O This is a bit late, but big ups to Evan Pollock of Gilbert’s Gazelles who won the Big D Marathon in Dallas last weekend in brutal conditions in 2:49:43. In the accompanying half, former Austinite Popcorn Leonard finished seventh overall at the age of 54 in 1:30:28.
O Down in Bellaire (just south of Houston), the amazing Sean Wade won the Bellaire Trolley 5-K in 15:01 at the age of 50. Megan Saloom of Houston won the women’s division in 17:26 with former Ausinite Sarah Perriman coming in third in 19:42.
O Former/occasional Austinite Scott MacPherson finished third in the GoSt.Louis Half Marathon last weekend in 1:05:04 in his first race back since the Olympic Trials Marathon in February. Kenneth Rotich of Grand Prairie won the half in 1:04:41, just a week after winning the Austin 10/20 in 47:55.
O The Livestrong Foundation just received the single largest individual donation in the past five years. Jeri and and Jeff Mulder are donating $1 million over the next five years through their family foundation for cancer patients and their survivors who are assisted by Livestrong. The Mulders, who live in Michigan, aren’t new to extending their generosity to Livestrong. Over the past 12 years, they have raised another $1 million for Livestrong.
O My sympathy goes out to long-time Austin runners Paul and Ellen Seals on the passing last week of Paul’s mother Betty at the age of 90. I was so fortunate to visit Betty for the final time on Easter Sunday and relate to her how much of an influence she has had on my life. My family and I cite “Betty-isms” practically every day. Needless to say, Betty will be missed by so many Austinites she has touched over the years.
O The Austin Runners Club Daisy 5-K Run on May 28th—the 39th running of it—will have a fun little twist to it this year. ARC is starting up a team challenge to the race at Camp Mabry. If you decide to enter a team, the scoring will be for the first five runners on the co-ed team. There will also be a masters division (over 40). Other Daisy news: Marathon Kids is the new race beneficiary.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “You Can’t Save Everybody,” by Kevin Welch (who lives in Wimberly) and Kieran Kane.
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