Back to 2013. I was running for performance, struggling with my mental to choose between performing in my passion and my social life. The same thing as with horse riding was happening to me. First I ran just for the fun. And after my first race, I was running for personal best and not just only because I love running. This is something I always did. In every single area of my life, I transformed anything into competition. This was exhausting. Today, 2015 I can say that I have changed. I still run for personal best but my love for running is bigger. If there were no more races to run anymore, I would still be running almost every day. I am learning to accept, to embrace the fact that one day, I will fail at a race and not reach my goal. And this day, I should be mentally prepared not to freak out. Anyway.
“A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they’re capable of understanding.” Steve Prefontaine
The meaning of running (…to me)
I associate so many things with running like health, challenge, relaxing, pushing to the limits and beyond, solving problems or not at all. But at that time I needed to stop running and take some distance. So I would be able to think about the real reasons that motivate me to run. As I said. In the beginning, I was running for passion. And then I lost it.
Since a few years, the number of people doing short or long distance running has incredibly increased. We can see it everywhere: on the streets, in parks or on the treadmill. On twitter, facebook or instagram. Running is in every mouth and at every foot. Sure it is easy, cheap, you can do it everywhere and whenever you want. There is a great community. In every step you make and in thoughts people can have, running is here. Even if you’re not a runner, you are involved. You see it, you feel it. Sounds maybe stupid what I am saying, but this is the feeling I get. Even non-runner friends talk about it in a certain way. Everyone is involved.
But what does it mean for these people? What is running to them? Running for passion or running after a trend?
Running has become trendy
Berlin Marathon or Paris Marathon was an incredible experience, but it made me reconsider what I really want. Do I want to run big marathons or rather smaller one? Sure I want to run Roma or Boston one day. Even if it was amazing to run the streets of Berlin & Paris, I thought the runs and the organizations around were actually both exhausting. There were too many people at the start, as well as too many people everywhere. It is a controversial feeling because I also enjoyed the event. Maybe that is the issue here. That’s the thing. Paris and Berlin Marathon are more events than races. Two big events on the yearly calendar. I want to run races. Of course, this is amazing and almost a privilege to have the possibility to run both these races, I am not complaining.
After watching and reading a lot of stuffs about trail running, I have the feeling we are losing the focus on what running is really about regarding road marathons.
I really think running has become a trend, a trend of the consumption industry. Some people are running because it is what everyone seems to be doing. People starts preparing for a marathon because it is cool to run a marathon. They are not running for passion. And I am generous when I talk about preparation. Gadgets, shoes, clothes, phone apps, social media. I have a lot of examples around me of people who want to run because everyone is doing it you know, I have to do it at least once in my life. I think this is great to go through this experience, but nothing annoy me more than people registering for a marathon, expecting running sub 4 hours while doing no proper training – running only twice a week for example. It irritates me, although this shouldn’t be my problem. Maybe I am an egoist regarding that topic.
When running is more than a trend
I’ve found a lot in my running. Peace, balance, passion, purpose. I put a lot of hearts – if not all of it – in my training and in my preparation. I am all-in, all the time. I am learning to appreciate this community around running and I don’t want to lose it. I feel so disappointed when I see other runners who don’t say good morning or good afternoon. I feel disappointed that the same codes are not applied by everyone. But I think this is how the human species works. You have all kinds everywhere. I am learning to love this community, learning its codes, learning new people who seem to be really amazing and I don’t want this community being disturbed by a group of trend-followers. Maybe I use words that are too strong. Everyone is welcome in this community, but one shouldn’t be running for the wrong reasons. I am not saying you should be running for passion. I just think you shouldn’t be running because everyone does that. You really need to like it at least a little bit to try to love it.
I just need to express my feelings about this kind of evolution of running. Of course I think this is awesome when people start running because they want to achieve something or change something in their lives. Because running is one of the greatest thing to do so. Anyway. A trend dies, running don’t. At the end, the community and the love will always be there.
I don’t want to hurt the feelings of other people. I just need to explain what upsets me, and why I sometimes need a break. Maybe that’s why I want to move to trail running. To reconnect with the core values of running. We all run for different reasons. I just want non runner to be aware, that if you start running for the wrong reasons, you’re gonna hate it, and running a marathon when you hate running is like a pain in the ass. Running for passion, this is the best thing that ever happen to me, and believe me when I say I would love to give it back to other people.