Running On Nothingness

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I guess I should start off with some inspirational quote about why I run, but that just wouldn’t be me. I spend a lot of time thinking about why I run and I don’t have a definite answer. It could almost go as saying that there is no purpose to it (no one really cares that you run ultras, time to face reality). So, instead of giving you some rant that should inspire you to lace up your shoes and go out one more time in the rain, snow, or terrible hot conditions, let’s just examine ultra-running for what it is and get down to the essence of this insane sport.

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At the most basic level with all the crap stripped away, I mean like all the crap that we post to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., ultra-running consists of putting one foot in front of the other, over and over again. Every animal does this and we most likely took our first steps before we were a year old. Having children myself and remembering the struggles that they went through trying to put one step in front of the other only reminds me of the some of the struggles I’ve had during a run – “This is so hard, I don’t trust myself to put another foot out there”. When we look at the purity of this, of putting one foot in front of the other, its so simple and animalistic, but it’s something forgotten. I don’t want to take it so far that we were born to run, but we were born to be upright and running does that for us.

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Now let’s take it up a notch, ultra-running takes something so simple and twists it until it seems like torture. Not only that, there’s people like me who are in search of that line that we cross so many times – the finish line, but I’m search of that finish line that I cannot cross; then I know I will have found where I cannot go. So, what is so important about ultra-running? We’re executing such a simple task on repeat – why isn’t buffet eating a sport or sleeping a sport? I think the importance is not an outward importance but an inward importance. There are many things in our lives that give us value and we can take pride in what we’re doing – but with ultra-running it is truly something that no one else can ever help with….yes we will have family and friends that give us unending support and we’ll often have crew and aid stations that contribute to our success as well. But at the heart of it, ultra-running is deeply personal and owned by the self. I think that’s why I love it so much – it belongs to me: all the successes and all the failures. No one will ever be able to own it – no corporations, governments, or other people will ever be able to take my ultra-running and claim it as theirs…it’s only mine.

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At the end of the day, we make our own reasons for running – whether that’s because we’re supporting a friend, to be healthy, to get in shape for an upcoming race, to be alone, or just to run and think about nothingness. I don’t claim that ultra-running will make you a better person either, but for me I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I never made the choice to start running ultra-distance runs and races. I hope you find your reason and your purpose for why you lace up your running shoes and hit the trails because there’s some amazing experiences and adventures out there waiting for you.

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Happy Trails Ryan

I want to read more!

Posted by Ryan James on 2020-01-01


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