We are in the midst of a boom!
Just as it happened in the 1970’s, the world is seeing a revival in our love of running. Back in the 70’s we had the Hippie movement which suggested we get more in touch with ourselves and the world around us, and one way that people did this was through running. As we are now seeing in large numbers, people are reconnecting with running and perhaps with themselves through the running.
Is this the second coming of the Hippie era? I don’t think so, but anything that helps us spend more time in nature, improving our health and helping to us to be more “present” is a great thing in my books.
It really is remarkable, especially for those of us that have been running for some time, to see people discovering running for the first time and finding that it is almost like a miracle cure for so many of the problems in their lives…
Obesity is out of control in our culture, as is heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc etc. Obviously diet plays a big part in this, but the simple addition of running or some other similar activity can dramatically alter a person’s situation health wise.
Apart from the running producing the obvious physical and mental health benefits, it is also becoming very trendy. There is now a multi Billion dollar industry that provides runners with shoes, clothing, gadgets and fun runs in which to show these things off. For some people, having the latest gear is a necessary thing for them to be able to be a part of the scene. I always laugh when I see someone that has decided to take up running and their first action is to go out and buy a full set of running clothes, a hydration pack, and some new shoes and then nothing happens. This is our consumer society telling us that the gear is essential but conveniently forgetting to remind us that it is the action that is important.
Luckily, at the top of the running tree there are some elite runners, particularly in the trail running scene that advocate a completely ‘stripped back’ approach to the sport. You see them in races wearing nothing but shorts and a pair of shoes. Yes the shoes are likely to be supplied by their sponsor, but their philosophy is one that shows us that the bare essentials are all that is needed. I personally think this is great and I’m glad that many of the heroes of running are showing us that less is more.
At one extreme end of the running spectrum is ultra endurance running and this meets yet another need that is increasingly becoming present in our society. That need is Adventure.
Most of us live in a concrete jungle with routines and each day can be as predictable as the last. Running great distances, sometimes in unpredictable conditions on difficult terrain takes us a long way away from the often mundane daily life that many of us live. Not every runner hears this call to test their limits in this way, but those of us that do will rarely ever go back.
Perhaps this “new craze” of running has something for you that you are yet to discover, or perhaps you were on to it from the beginning and you are now sitting back wondering what took everyone so long. Either way, if you haven’t busted out a few kilometers today, what are you waiting for?
Everyone is doing it!