I Am A Runner – Why I Run

Why do I run?  There are a lot of reasons. I run because, I enjoy it.  It’s fun.  I run to see new places in a different and exciting way.  I run to enjoy the company of other runners.  I run to experience the beauty of nature, a gift which God has given us.  I run , to be alone, and to be in good company.  I run to challenge myself and to compete with others.  I run to feel young and to learn from years of wisdom.

The reasons are endless.

On one of the many cross country flights I’ve taken, I was seated next to a young girl (she was maybe in her mid 20s) who was overweight.   When she took the seat, the middle seat, next to me “she” apologized for being so large and that she would be most likely taking up some of my space.  I smiled, said hello and told her it was okay.  She then asked the flight crew for an extension for her seat belt.  As she attempted to buckle it out of the blue she opened up to me about her struggles with “being large” and all the things in life she could not do.

She could not go on amusement rides, ride a horse, go for long walks, feel good in a crowd, walk up stairs, go hiking, and wear cute outfits.  What caught my attention during this list of things she could not do was that she said she could not run.  I could feel the the hurt and saddens in her voice.   I smiled and said that I was sorry.  I almost mistakenly told her that I understood, but how could I?  I told her that I did not judge her and that we all have our battles in life and to keep on fighting.  Honestly, I wasn’t really sure what to say.

We made small talk for the rest of the flight and I assured her that I did not mind sitting next to her.  I shared some of my “military adventures” and parts of the world I had seen.  The flight of over five hours, which started off with an uncomfortable conversation ended rather quickly.  At the end of the flight we said goodbye.  Needing to get to a connecting flight I quickly gathered my things and got on my way.  Before exiting the plane I looked back in the direction of my previous seat assignment.  The girl was struggling to make her way between the rows of seats as she moved towards the exit.  She noticed I had looked back for her and smiled.  I smiled back and gave her a quick nod.  Then I turned and made my way out of the aircraft, down the flight ramp, into the airport and on to my next flight.

During my runs I often wonder how her life is going and is she still struggling?  I often wonder why?

11813341_10153598437366458_5794626971266741540_n(Running the March 50K, 2015)

I run to have a body which does not limit the things I can do in life.



6 thoughts on “I Am A Runner – Why I Run

  1. Ken Polleck

    Brian, have you ever “swept” a race or paced one of the slowest paces? Every veteran runner should. I swept a half-marathon that didn’t have a cut-off, and my role was to help anyone (who wanted to) to get to the finish line. Our time was 4 hours, 35 minutes.

    And I would have to say–the woman I “swept,” encouraged, and supported–she was working as hard getting that 4h:35m half marathon done as I have ever done in any of my 100+ races.

    1. Brian Burk

      No I have not, but sounds like an interesting way to see “the race.” I want to do more pacing in 2017.

      Thanks for reading.


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