I used to ask an ex-colleague of mine when I was in MAS whilst we were on the ERL train on the way home, “What drives you to run?”. He was silent for a few minutes and I didn’t take my eyes off him, trying to read his body language. His eyeballs were staring around looking for an answer. “I just love it”, he answered.

“That’s it?” I asked. “Yeah”. I didn’t believe him. I was sure there was a hidden motive, the x-factor that pushed him into such activity. I was not that keen on running during that time. I love sports but was not that interested when it came to long distance running. “Mindless, pointless”, I would say.

Until one day, my mind was so depressed from work, studies, life’s expectation, I decided to give it a go. A scene from Forrest Gump flashed in my mind. Mr Gump was so sad that his lover left him, he just ran. What happened next? You gotta watch the movie to appreciate it.

My first attempt at running was excruciatingly painful. I was wearing my basketball shoes, worn basketball shoes with the cushioning all looked like a thin slice of cheese with holes eaten out by rats. 1st issue was impact on the soles, 2nd issue was, stamina. 2nd issue was the biggest embarrassment from my personal point of view. I was an athlete who represented my school, my faculty, my university in various sports. But I couldn’t maintain the proper posture and pace within 15 minutes of running. Fast paces became a step by step personal achievement. That was all I could maintain for the next hour or so. But one aspect of it which really comforted me was, I was in my own world of huff and puff. I didn’t care what other people was thinking of me.

The objective: to reach point B from point A. The road does not care who you are. It lays sprawled for you to explore, for you to step on. The road does not discriminate. The fact that my house is located near to a wonderful lake, helps to keep me running. “Wanna see more beautiful scenes? Keep running”. “Wanna see those pretty ladies over there? Keep running”. “Are those guys shooting for a movie or something? Keep running”. “We’ll pass by them and see more wonderful things”.

Now, I’ve got a proper pair of running shoes. A Sony Walkman mp3 player. Running shirt/shorts/pants. And have been yearning for any chance I could get to get my legs moving. The feeling of accomplishment for finishing a certain predetermined distance is so awesome it is as if all your organs are giving you a pat on the back thanking you for clearing their vessels and strengthening them physically and refreshing their will.

Now I understand what drives these runners to run. At least that’s how I understand it and that’s what I’ve been experiencing. It’s a ‘me’ time, an addictive activity which in a way helps me to build up my self esteem, confidence and strengthening my resolve. Not to mention, helps to tone my physique too 😉 .

Give me hills, give me gravel, give me shoes in which I will travel.


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