I Am a Runner

Kevin Fong, Staff Writer

I am a runner. As a member of both the cross country and track teams I run almost every day. People ask me all the time, “Why do you run? Isn’t it the worst thing ever?”

Although it may seem crazy to some, I enjoy running. I enjoy the rhythmic strides, the sense of freedom, and the escape from the outside world. To me, running isn’t a chore or something that I have to do for PE. It is something that I look forward to.

Many think running is the worst kind of exercise in the world, and I can understand that. For me, it is something that I can constantly work towards and get better at. I’m not good at other sports so running really is my only option. But I also do it because I like that I can improve at it. Putting effort into practice every day delivers results.  I set a goal for myself and I work until I achieve it. There’s no better feeling than crossing that finish line seeing your new personal record up on the scoreboard. All of that sweat and pain was all worth it. I feel accomplished.

Of course, once you complete your goal you set a new one, and work to complete that one just like all of the others.

Running is painful. There’s no denying it.

There’s no escaping the overwhelming stinging in my legs, the feeling of asphyxiation as my lungs hurry for air in futility, or the mental degradation as my body refuses to move. But that’s where all the fun is. Pushing myself beyond my limits is what makes running what it is. It’s the moments when I stop thinking, “I can’t” and, as Nike says, “Just do it” that make me happy. It’s the feeling when I’m cresting the last hill of the workout fighting to the bitter end. The experience at the end of a race is incomparable to anything else. It’s confusing because although my body is ravaged by the miles and my mind is depleted from overriding my body’s exhaustion, I feel euphoric in those last 400 meters. I enter a meditative state. One in which I lose track of all the pain and the lack of air and just run till the finish.

Running also offers an escape. It allows my mind to wander freely away from all the stresses of the day. When I just go out and run, without a destination or aim, I enter a new dimension. I no longer worry over school or other problems, but I think about whatever I want to, ranging from the end of the world to dinosaurs running rampant in the city.

Cross country and track also offer a wide variety of people to meet and befriend. Students from different grades, backgrounds, and social groups all join in on the fun and train together. Guys and girls, varsity and frosh-soph all train together. This creates a great team environment for everyone to improve in. Everyone works together towards a common goal. I like it because I get advice from my friends about my running form while helping the younger athletes figure out their goals for the season.

Working closely, the team becomes like a family. Everyone puts in the time and effort to be there, and that creates a shared bond. I see my teammates at their brightest and darkest of hours, and I’m there to celebrate their victories or to inspire them to avenge their losses.