Some Not So Random Musings While Running on the Mountain to Sea Trail


By Gordon Cherr


I have felt as though we have been thrust into a time warp lately. Not to introduce politics into the entirely apolitical forum of running (right, ask Steve Prefontaine about that…), but have you been paying attention to what is going on around you and even to you lately? Or are you still too wrapped up in your big new SUV? Are we back in the Ronald Reagan era or what? The Cheney-Bush administration and its full frontal assault on the earth must give you pause for concern. Relax or entirely abandon administrative rules here, drill for oil in the most sensitive and unique of natural areas there (and the truth be known, for absolutely no good reason), abandon all intelligent thought and pull out of international greenhouse gas conferences and ignore global warming warnings. Fire federal land use and forestry officials who are concerned and knowledgeable about the ecological principles which we need to abide by to have any rational hope for future generations. Geez.

In the name of what? In the name of rampant materialism, personal and political gain. And a new but thoroughly unworkable anti-ballistic missile system geared to spend us back into the poor house. But don’t worry, no one has to bite the bullet and cut back. Forget conservation, forget alternative sources, and forget that nuclear power plant byproducts can never be disposed of safely. Anywhere. This is so Reaganesque that it is frightening. They are playing on your fears. Are we doomed to repeat history?

Runners are the most fortunate of athletes. Remember the NIKE advertisements from many years past: “The roads are free.” Amen. No greens fees, no waiting for the next tennis court, no one to tell you where you can and can’t go, no one to tell you when or why. All we need is the sufficient resolve to tie on those running shoes and head out the door.

For me, there is little room for materialism in running. The perfect shoe will not really make you faster. Nor will that new miracle fabric in your shorts or shirts. Amby Burfoot would say that you should instead try “dedication, consistency and passion” in your training. You were born with everything you need to make you the best runner (read “person’) you can be despite all of those materialistic advertisements suggesting that you need something more. Your answers lie within, not from the outside. “The best solutions are achieved from personal resolve, not from multiple credit cards.”

What is true in the microcosm of running is doubtlessly true in the larger macrocosm of life. You wouldn’t stand idly by if someone told you – you weren’t allowed to run today, would you? Have you seen the Fern Trail lately? It is too late if you haven’t ever had the pleasure of running it. We are stewards of the earth for ourselves and for all future generations. Don’t stand idly by while others take what is rightfully ours and that of future generations in the name of ignorance and worse, greed. We need to act with dedication, consistency and passion to protect the Mother and the future. Can you be counted upon?