131- Monday Musings - Run
Around three weeks ago, i ran my second marathon, called the Kaveri trail marathon in the Rangapetta bird sanctuary, sandwiched between the cities of Mysore and Srirangapatnam. I am a late bloomer as a long distance runner, as anyone who has known me for some time will testify and so writing about my experiences of long distance running is particularly significant and cathartic.
Kaveri trail marathon was different from the Mumbai marathon in many ways. It was a natural trail on the banks of an irrigation canal and through the bird sanctuary. As a little over a thousand runners ran through the lush suganrcane fields, thick foliage, with massive trees as bystanders, under the canopy of clear pristine sapphire blue sky, it was difficult not to be carried away with the surreal settings. Every mile or so farmers looked quizzically at the runners and bullock carts got stuck on a trail which had only that much space. If one would not have been overwhelmed by the challenge of staying on course for 21kms, one would have liked to pitch a tent and just tried saying 'statue'!
I came back and watched a brilliant video on the net by Christopher Mcdoughal, who opines that mankind as a species was born to run. He uses anecdotes, historical and sociological evidences to claim that man was quite literally 'born to run'; that running is a natural human state - being stationary or sedentary is abnormal to our sense of being. He uses pre civilisational conditions, and present day African and Mexican tribes (who are the closest to the pre civilisational conditions that we can find today) to suggest that running comes naturally for human beings like breathing and the ability and habit of running has played a huge role in our journey of existence. I dont know if i all that he says can stand scientific scrutiny - and i hope it does, but i can surely identify with the the joys of running that he describes. When you run, that is the only thing that you do. The world and its worries recedes. The mind clears. The soul sings. Every muscle in the limbs make its presence felt. For those like me for whom running does not come naturally and have to summon every ounce of energy and courage to stay the course, running is also an experience of deep personal victory over limitations of the mind and body.
So to everyone who does not run, i recommend what Christopher Mcdoughal says - Running is the natural state of being. It may look impossible to begin with but the end of it all, its a deeply moving and uplifting experience.
Run - as if your life depends on it.