Over the last two years I’ve asked myself this question repeatedly. It’s an exercise in learning about who I am and what my true character is.
We tend to walk around under the gaze of others and create, in the words of John Barthes, a pose. A fictitious version of ourselves that hides our true nature amongst lies.
So, why is it that I run at the moment?
It seems I run for two reasons…
I run to be myself. Not the version that everyone sees as I go about doing my job or daily life, but the version that is actually me. Free to just exist without constraints or conventions. It’s a glorious feeling to realise that you can travel from place to place and experience it all so intimately, without the romantic facade that we often create. It’s almost like I see the world around me as it truly is and that I’m privileged to do so.
Secondly, I feel I’m proving a point. Not necessarily to others but also to myself. Our bodies are stronger and more resilient than we give them credit for. We are to accustomed to the nineties of modern life, and often find ourselves trapped by them.
Now, it’s easy to misconstrue this whole post, and read it as one person’s words against wearing shoes, and how barefoot running is the natural way of running and shoes are evil, but…
I do it for me, and if you think I’ll start to preach about its virtues, you might find I don’t. Running long distance is a selfish act. It is in no way about others. It creates a situation where, no matter how many people you are with, ultimately, you run within your own shell.
This is why I decided to attempt the iconic Land’s End to John O’Groats (aka LeJog) barefooted, and announce it as apposed to just get on with it. It would be too easy to make it a selfish personal act, and not allow it to in some way benefit others. The more research I do into the impact of strokes, the more I realise that I’ve made the right choice on a wider scale of things, since I a personal level there was no real choice.
I run barefoot to prove I can, despite the lack of years of training and regardless of the terrain. It is just something that I do to prove that I am alive and that I work to live.
Why do you run?