Monday, August 27

Inspiration and creativity from Santa Fe

One of the best things about Camp Marafiki in Santa Fe was the inspiration of being able to train with some of the best runners in the world. The Kenyans. Ben Fletcher isn't quite a Kenyan, but he's trained with them for some time now and from what I can tell, he's a darn good college athlete.
Here's an excerpt from an e-mail he sent to the campers this year which I found moving.

When I first met the Kenyans, I was intimidated. However, they instilled in me the desire for improvement. It is my wish that the camp has bestowed this and much more upon you. Through working with the Kenyans and all of you, it occurred to me how important and beautiful running truly is. To run to one's potential, to even set out on the path to finding out how good one can be (which you all have done), in my mind is what the camp is all about. Many of you may be trying to better your times, win a race, or simply finish your first marathon. But, in the process you are trying to find out how good you can be, whatever your goal may be.

What I took away from camp was that when one lives their life intensely and with great sensitivity, as any great athlete does, then at their best they convey to others a level of elegance that is not easily accessible in other arenas of life. To experience the childlike joy, the struggles, the frustrations, and the excellence of creativity inherent in running is to part the curtain of routine and mediocrity to another way of living, of dreaming. It is the chance to nurture the inner drive by looking inside to search our souls for all the dreams and ambitions that lay within; to go as deeply as possible to discover the essence of living and to be as good at something as we possibly can. It is the chance to succeed, to explore into the unknown, and to open ourselves into new areas of thought.



Let me repeat my favorite part of that message from Ben: To experience the childlike joy, the struggles, the frustrations, and the excellence of creativity inherent in running is to part the curtain of routine and mediocrity to another way of living, of dreaming.

It's interesting to me to think of running as something that's creative. I think Steve Prefontaine talked about that a bit - running a race as if it were a work of art. I mean, wow. What does that mean? How do you do that? Can you imagine when you're running that you're creating something beautiful for people to watch?

That just blows me away as I think about it.

We run to create something beautiful. We run to touch other people. We run to inspire others. Yes, we run for ourselves, but not for ourselves only. There are selfish motivations and selfless motivations.

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