Whenever one does something, shall we say, “out of the ordinary”–you know, something from which one will not earn money, fame, or reputation–people tend to wonder why one bothers to do so. When I was an active amateur astronomer, for example, I was always met with uninterested and unbelieving look every time I talked about my passion. People would ask me what I see in the sky to merit such attention. Those are just stars, right, and they have been there since time immemorial?
Well, the same thing happened when I turned to mountain climbing. Some people said that I was foolishly exposing myself to danger (“Oh, don’t you remember the climber who died the other year? And what if you get kidnapped by the NPA?” etc. etc.) when I could enjoy the view just the same in the lowlands.
I guess one person’s passion is really another person’s boredom/”dis-passion” or whatever.
Now that I have turned to running, I get the same reaction. However, now when I am asked why I run, I simply reply, “Because I can.” That quote, of course, is a take-off from George Mallory’s words regarding climbing Mt. Everest.
However, this image from adidas also captures one of my reasons for being passionate about this sport.
It’s a nice drawing by a kid, huh? It applies to me, too. Whenever I run, the world kinda recedes and eventually disappears. It is just me, and the road, and the wind through my hair. (I admit this is an idealized feeling. Most of the time, there’s just me and my panting breath. Hehehe)
Seriously, I run because it makes me happy. Scientifically, this has been proven. Exercise releases neutrotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for regulating mood. So, in effect, while some run to relieve stress, the activity performs multiple functions: it helps maintain weight, it energizes, it improves cardiovascular capacity, and yeah, things sometimes come in perspective when you run.
Maybe these advantages is not just gained in running. Maybe it is achieved when one has a life outside of the office, when one indulges in a passion which has nothing to do with work or family, something which makes a person give time to one’s self.
So why do I run? Simply because I still can.