Friday 13 December 2019

Running is about so much more than just the exercise

Tony Mangan, 57, from the Liberties in Dublin, passes the Samuel Beckett Bridge, who has arrived home after an epic four-year 50,000km run around the world. Photo credit: Artur Widak/PA Wire
Tony Mangan, 57, from the Liberties in Dublin, passes the Samuel Beckett Bridge, who has arrived home after an epic four-year 50,000km run around the world. Photo credit: Artur Widak/PA Wire
Today FM's Ray D'Arcy with Gerry Duffy at the launch of his book 'Tick, Tock, Ten'

Gerry Duffy

I have a book on my shelf. It is called The Runners Book of Inspiration. In 2011, it screamed the words 'buy me' from a bookshelf of a famous book store in London's West End.

The book shares lots of philosophies on the subject. On one particular page it encourages readers to realise that running is about so much more than just physically running. Let me share some of the 'extras'.

Running is about the friendships that we experience in our running communities and in the people we meet at races. From running I have met many hundreds of people. Several are now valued friends. Many of them I didn't know 10 years ago, five years ago and even six months past.

Isn't it also a joyous feeling to share the roads with someone? Someone of your pace, where you can just chat as you cover the miles. When we run with a companion, often we don't even notice the distance. Most Saturday mornings I try and do a tempo run with friends. I always look forward. Yes, running is about people.

Running is about nature. I learned that from my mum. When I was immersed in the 32 marathons in 32 days adventure back in 2010, my mother suggested to me to be conscious of nature as I ran for 32 days around Ireland's parks, canal banks and country roads. Her advice really made me consciously aware of what I was seeing.

As a result, it heightened further the experience and pleasure of running. Now when I run, I look for specific types of trees, different crops in the fields, the livestock, the topography that defines it and the birds that fly over it. Yes, running is about nature.

Running is about health. Often in goal setting seminars, I encourage people not to focus on what or how but rather ask yourself why am I doing this. Here we can realise the health benefits that running gives us. It helps our heart, lungs, joints, mobility, posture, energy and our mental state of mind. Yes running is about health.

Running is about getting away from it all. It helps us forget - for a brief time - our concerns, deadlines, missions or responsibilities. Running is about losing ourselves from thought. Yes, running distracts wonderfully.

Running is about fun. Isn't that our first reason to run? Nobody forces us to run. We choose to do it. Someone told me recently that they hated running. Then "why do it?" I asked. "Find a pursuit that you love and one that's fun for you". I imagine though, you - the reader - run for fun. It's a chance to be a child again or to exercise one of our most primitive forms of movement. It's about the joyous feeling it gifts us as we move and the elated feeling we have for hours or even days after. Life should be fun, shouldn't it? Yes running is about fun.

That page of the book then finishes with these wise words.

"Running is about lots of things besides how fast you run. Today, leave the watch at home and get reacquainted with these other things."

Ok, here goes. I'm off for a run. Why?

Well for friendships, for nature, for health, for 'me' time and for fun. That's why. Oh and the effort of running as well.

I love that too.

Enjoy your run.

Gerry@gerryduffyonline.com

Health & Living

Editors Choice

Also in Life