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I run because...

by @garyfallsover
Monday 22nd August 2016
Gary Dalton asks himself a question many of us ask ourselves, and many others ask us. Why do we run? 

I run because…..
How many times have you read that sentence and thought yeah, that’s me. He or she has nailed it. They know exactly why I run and they’ve articulated it better than I ever could.
Never? Me either. Not once. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s been parts I’ve agreed with. Bits I’ve felt the author was on the right track with but fundamentally there hasn’t been one time I’ve agreed wholeheartedly that someone just plain old gets it. 
Because I don’t. I have no real idea why I run. I run for different reasons on different days. 
I run for different reasons during the course of the same run. I run for fitness. I run to see new places. I run to meet new people from walks of life I’d never otherwise interact with and share with them the simple pleasure  of covering ground as fast as we as individuals physically can.
I run for kudos. I run because others can’t or won’t and sometimes I take pleasure in that. I’ve finished long runs where the only subject I can remember thinking about is how I’ll frame the perfect tweet to tell all 938 of you that I experienced something you hadn’t and somehow that makes me better. Somehow.
I run for vanity. Because in my head I refuse to accept the inescapable and mounting evidence I’m no longer 21. Or 31. Feck it. I’d be happy with 41 these days.  I run because just once in a while I want someone to exclaim ‘Really!!’ when I tell them my age. And not in a ‘I can’t believe you’re still mobile’ kind of way.
I run because some day I won’t be able to run. The years ahead are fewer than those behind. The vehicle that carries me on my runs slowly drained of energy, ambition and cartilage. The injuries accumulated over the years forcing me into the realisation that there will come a point when I can’t run. When I’m slowed to a hike. Or a walk. And eventually that will be it. 
I run because the simple act of running makes me feel like a kid again. I run to find the simple joy that physical activity can give you. The release of endorphins that others pay good money for can be found on a wooded singletrack trail. Or a fell. Or a track. 
I run to think and I run to stop thinking. To clear my head and to fill it with so much physical pain that all thought ceases. To build new memories and to clear the burning embarrassment of old ones. Entire conversations with friends long lost are replayed over and over until the resolution is finally in my favour. I was right. If only they’d seen.
I run to procrastinate and I procrastinate when it’s time to run. Sometimes the build-up to getting out the door far exceeds the duration of the run itself and when I return I wonder what all the fuss was about. 
I run to remember. To cement memories by spending long hours on the trail focused on little else. Trying to achieve that fabled flow where everything becomes effortless.  To spend time with only my own thoughts to accompany me. It’s the closest I’ll ever come to achieving a Zen state, where time becomes meaningless.
I run because it gives. It gives me a social circle of friends I can rely on inside and outside of running. It’s given me fitness. ( Barely ) visible abs. An arse that has so far resisted its genetic  journey southwards and a body fat percentage that’s closer to 10% than 20.
I run to honour those I love and to those I have lost. To put them in my thoughts without distraction. To consider the time we’ve spent together and to relive the memories we created. To feel closer to them  because within running there’s a simple joy in life that I don’t find anywhere else. 
I run because. Because of all those reasons above and a hundred more unthought-of  yet. 
Why do you run?

About The Author

Gary Dalton

Gary Dalton is a rugby loving, crime fighting, white Irish Muslim ultra runner. Despite all this he's not a complete eejit. 

Gary is originally from the west of Ireland and can't actually remember when he moved to London - he blames a heavy diet of being tackled by prop forwards and potatoes for the memory loss. He hates going out for runs, canals and borderline hypothermia and loves ice cream and going out for runs. 


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