So what is running good for? This.


I’ve got stuff in the pipe line, I really do, but this video came across my screen this afternoon and just had to be shared. I’ve thought great deal about what running is good for, or not, and sometimes I come to the conclusion that it is just a bunch of self serving self centered narcissistic Americans serving their vanity and feeding their neuroses. Then I see something like this video and I remember why I run. On the best days the mind turns off, the volume turns down, the senses ramp up. On the best days, I’m just an animal running in the woods.

I just finished a book that makes the case that we self medicate to dampen the anxiety we feel, anxiety that was once well placed, when we were easy prey (that is to say, for almost the entirety of our evolutionary history). We no longer live in a world where large predators are trying to eat us, yet our bodies are hard wired for this caution. We remain jumpy and it makes us sick. Every drug Ronnie lists in the video, as well as the alcohol legal and sold everywhere, represents our attempts to quiet our fear, a misplaced fear but one that can’t be simply evolved away in a generation.

Running is another way to move with that fear, to take it with us, to dance with it. It pushes all the right buttons in our bodies, engages all those nerves and neurotransmitters and makes us feel like we are doing the right thing. I’m so proud of this guy for finding his way to his feet literally, so humbled in the face of the challenges he faces relative to my own, and so grateful to be shown yet another reason that doing what I do is not just ok, but in fact how I learn to “make this life work”.

Thanks to Adventure Journal for sharing this. I have no idea how old this is, or when the marathon is/was that he is participating in, but I am sure you can find out if you want to know/do more.


Sarah O'Malley

About Sarah O'Malley

Sarah is a science educator, naturalist, writer, tide pool fanatic and burgeoning obsessive trail runner. From personal experience she believes strongly in the restorative power of contact with nature, especially experiences that make your heart beat a little faster or get your hands and feet dirty. She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula with her husband and two dogs.