Here's the question: Why do you run?
You've probably been asked that question before. It's not an easy question to answer, is it? If someone has to ask, they'll probably never understand.
A man once came to Mozart and said: Teach me to write a symphony.
Mozart answered: I can't teach you.
The man said: Why not? You were writing symphonies when you were 4 years old.
To which Mozart replied: Yes, but I didn't have to ask how.To write timeless symphonies requires a genius that running does not demand, lucky for us, but the problem of explanation is much the same: If you have to ask, you just don't get it. And you probably won't get it.
But you get it, don't you? You would never ask someone: Why do you run? (Except maybe rhetorically.)
Nevertheless, even you who "get it" have a hard time articulating your passion. I think that is because running is a passion of the spirit. And explaining the spirit is never easy. Running is the expressway to self-confidence, self-awareness, self-discipline and self-reliance. From running, you learn the harsh realities of your physical and mental limitations. From running, you gain strategies for extending those limitations, that you might run farther, run faster, and run tougher. You learn that personal responsibility, commitment, sacrifice, determination, and persistence are the only means of improvement. Running, you come to understand, is a profound, far-reaching and never ending contest of the runner with himself, or herself. And you learn that runners only get promoted through self-conquest.
Running asks a question of you, and everyday it's the same question: Are you going to be a wimp, or are you going to be strong today?
And when you answer that question in the way that you people in this room have answered it, you become a better, stronger, more confident animal, with a capacity for achievement greater than before, and a formula for success that is forever engraved on your brain. The single, most outstanding characteristic of the runner is independence. Through your own will, you present yourselves to the fire; and the fire changes you, permanently and forever.
Body and spirit
I surrendered whole
To harsh instructors
And received a soul.
All that I can say is. . . Amen.