The Spirit of Running

I have always wondered why people run. Imagine running a grueling 42km and enduring the pain and stress of it all. It baffles the mind.

Obviously all have their own reasons. Some run for a cause. Some like to prove that they can. Some to achieve a certain milestone in their life time. Some because their girl friend/wife/husband are doing it. There are just tonnes of reasons.

Personally, it doesn't really matter what the reasons are. As long as that reason would sustain you through those hours on the road. As long as you can remember and convince yourself when it matters, as you push yourself forward despite the cramps in your thighs and calves. As exhaustion consumes you.

Recently Haile announced his retirement. His running career ended on a DNF. The world was in shock and disbelief. But I am not going to speculate why he has decided so. It's really not up to any of us to judge. Even if you can run like he does. But it does make me think about the reasons why I run.

That brings me to the topic of discussion: The Spirit of Running. I have seen with my own eyes a rare gem that proved the skeptics wrong. At age 63, still running marathons (at a very good pace too) is our life example Mr. Yee. I salute that man. Saying that he is our inspiration is an understatement. What drives him? He is an embodiment of the Spirit of running.

These runners do not win the top spots in the marathon. You don't see them in the limelight. But stories be told, you will catch a glimpse of that rare Spirit of running burning in them when you really get to know them. I am not interested in reading about someone who does ultra tough courses that few human beings can attempt. The iron man do not impress me too much. It is in those everyday people who go to work, those who have families, that juggle and find the time to commit and train for the their run at 5 am in the morning. (Some times in the rain too). This is more impressive to me. That, to me, is the spirit of running. Let us never lose sight of that. That's what make us alive!

Another shining example are the blind runners, led by their running partners. These runners are a class of their own. Can you begin to even imagine what it's like to be blind? And yet against all odds, they are running a marathon! It speaks volumes about the human conquering spirit. My heart cheers for them!

My heart warms when I see these people. They are the true inspiration. The true spirit of marathon. Sometimes we get too caught up with the technicalities and fail to see the true meaning of running. Let us never ever lose sight of that.


  1. Hi Francis... found your new 'home' in this blogosphere through Foo's blog...:)

    Read all your 3 stories... the biggest shock to me is that you took just about 1 year to improve from 4:21 to sub-4, then to 3:41... and the unbelievable 3:17!... am still in disbelieve!

    I read one of Foo's article in late 2008... he mentioned about how few Malaysian could qualify for Boston... you are easily a top 10 finisher in the Bolehland, if am not wrong.

  2. Frankly, I can't believe it either. But I must say I did train a lot harder since Borneo last year in 2009. But suffer also quite a bit of injuries as a consequent, mainly Plantar fasciitis. Well, what the heck, I will run on.....


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