Since I was four years old, I have had a passion for running. My parents were runners, so I too wanted to run. At four, they entered me in a one-mile race that I ran in 19 minutes and 31 seconds. I have been running ever since and love every minute I am on the road or trail.
Running has taught me that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. It involves the ability to accept massive amounts of pain and never give up if I want to do the best I can in every race. This feeling was expressed by runner Percy Cerutty, who said, “You only ever grow as a human being if you’re outside your comfort zone.” Now, with the mental strength I have from running, I know that no schoolwork or job will be as hard as running.
Running has no boundaries and that is what I love most about it. You can go anywhere. You can run in the woods or on streets. I love running in the rain because jumping in puddles and the feeling of the rain make me feel relaxed.
Running is also one of the most challenging sports, and for those who think that it is not a sport, this quote by Glen Cunningham might make you think differently: “People can’t understand why a man runs. They don’t see any sport in it. Argue it lacks the sight and thrill of body contact. Yet, the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any man versus man competition. For in running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents.”
Determination and dedication are the main strengths I have gained. To get better I need to run every day no matter how tired or what the weather. It takes a lot of dedication to push beyond comfort and totally exhaust myself after 40 minutes of sprinting or running at faster than race pace. It takes a lot of determination to keep running when I have blisters or sore muscles. I have been in so much pain from pushing myself that I puke and am almost in tears. But I never let that stop me.
Next time you see a runner, think about what that runner has experienced. Try to imagine what kind of weather that runner has run in and for how many hours each year. Think of the places seen and people met. I am one of those runners and I plan to be out on the road running until I can no longer physically do it. I do not run because I can, I run because it is a part of me.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.