Why do I run?


By Jeff Bryan


Ernest Hemingway wrote in “For Whom The Bell Tolls,” “Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.” I don’t think that Hemingway was referring to running when he wrote this but the principle applies. The question that I want to discuss is, “Why do I run?” Ever since I started running again over a year and a half ago, I have been asked this question. It is a question that is not easily answered. I could always reply with the common reasons that people use: to stay in shape, to lose weight, to prevent heart disease, just to name a few. There are also reasons such as for personal reflection and as a social outlet that would suffice as well. To me, none of these reasons seem totally appropriate.

Being an analytical person, I went looking for the answer. I decided to approach it from another angle. I asked my friend Walt who is an athletic type, why he doesn’t run. He responded to me by saying: “Why should I run when I have a perfectly good car.” After that type of response, I decided to forgo that approach.

They always say that runners are running away from something. Maybe this is where the answer was? I started to think about things and problems that I may be trying to forget about or avoid. This was not the answer either. You can never run away from your problems. This also didn’t seem too healthy either. You also could just as easily be running towards something, couldn’t you?

Some run for the competitive aspect. Gulf Winds Track Club has a very competitive Grand Prix Series and these races usually have the largest turnouts. I ruled this reason out because I find great satisfaction in the success of other runners and don’t worry about who is passing me or who I am passing. I haven’t won any races either but I still continue to run.

I may never be able to put into words the reason that I run. However, anyone who has crossed a finish line or otherwise completed a run knows the reason. It is at that moment when the answer becomes apparent. It is a feeling that only a runner can understand and a non-runner may never know. So why does the bell toll for you? Come out to a Gulf Winds running event or hit one of the local trails. I may not be able to tell you but you will be able to find out the answer for yourself. Today is today. Prepare yourself for the days to come. Have you run today?