Monday, September 27, 2010

This running thing is stupid

Running is boring. Very boring. A “Fun Run” is a contradiction in terms just like “military intelligence”. The fact that they have prizes makes it a race with a special rule: if you are not having fun, consider yourself disqualified.

After completing the City to Bay last weekend it was easy to determine who was having fun and who was hoping that their misery would end soon. Those that would talk to me as my mate and I dashed through the crowd did with malice and steely determination in their eyes; they were generally not having a good time. They are not charging the enemy lines they are only running 12 k’s. Too many people take running way too seriously.

Why do I run? Because there is nothing on tele. The comedian Danny Bhoy said it best when asked about running:

“Danny, do you want to go for a run?”

“Why? Are we being chased?”

And I cannot go around stealing his jokes, although I want to when I face a blank page, but it is true to an extent. “Exercise” and “feeling good” and “fresh air” are bogus. Running is a pointless pursuit because there are negatives to the positives. For example:

• It is hard on your joints and ligaments
• Exposure to the elements and UV radiation
• Dehydration is a killer
• People look at you weird and if its night time, they think you are going to steal their bag
• On long runs your body breaks down and consumes itself to fuel your screaming muscles. It is good to stop at that point.

Okay, so all of those negatives were levered out A Current Affair style so I can justify my selling point, but I do not understand why the ideas of long distance running to be the pinnacle of fitness. When people desire to “get fit” why do they associate it with running? Fitness like everything comes in all shapes, sizes, and abilities; a footballer who is not match fit would still run rings around me. You can do things other than running to improve fitness, like taking the stairs.

I can guilt myself into running. After a bad food day – or a good food day some would think – I usually go for a run. When a major competition is coming up, I usually go for a run. If I need to catch a break in the traffic, I usually go for a run. If I need to catch a bus, there will usually be another so I generally wait. It is true I sometimes run by myself, but I would rather run with friends.

If you manage to find a mate who will run with you it turns a footpath slog into a catch up, a soul search, a problem solver, a brainstorm, and an opportunity to talk shit while they shake their head at your Bill Cosby impersonations. Those that do run already have trained themselves to zone out into music and most of us mortals cannot do that; so pair up people! You can utilise that same reason that makes it illegal to talk on the phone while driving, focus on a conversation and lose track on how far you have gone.

People become closer when they go through hardship together; soldiers in war, victims of disasters, prison inmates, and anybody who has had a rough night out drinking get closer as the stakes get higher. Running with people you know will help you get through the walls and the injuries to come, and take in the scenery with you as you go. Friends will turn a race into a fun run.

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