EVERY RUNNER’S SECRET FEAR
Every runner shares one thing in common, the runner’s secret fear
Everyone has been chased. You take off on pure instinct, adrenaline building as you search for an escape. But your pursuer is fast, and his steps are closing in. You check over your shoulder, but it’s too late. He’s covering the final inches. You won’t outrun him, or it. Fade to black. Each ending is different, few are happy. Most of us escaped, leaving us plenty confident in our ability to do so. Those unfortunate souls who know the other side are what the rest of us refer to as runners. Behind every great runner is the story of being caught. It’s the core motivating factor driving the pathological behavior.
The runner’s secret fear is understandable. That’s why it’s considered in bad taste to ask a runner if they have been chased. You have to build rapport, and maybe, if they aren’t still in denial of the event, they might offer the information up organically. When they’re ready. Most runners feel shame or guilt about what happened, like it was their fault. If only they had run a little faster. Or farther. So they run, as a form of catharsis. Most describe it as their escape. Running to escape being caught.
For the average person, escape is the only relationship to running.
If we are running, someone or something is chasing. It’s difficult for us to imagine non frantic running. That’s why we watch in awe, as runners across the country force themselves through prolonged periods of strenuous activity. 5ks, half marathons, and full 26 mile races.
Running is a form of peacocking. That is why running attire is often flamboyant, and brightly colored. It is a display of strength. If you want to chase, go ahead, but as you can see by my neon running shoes and full body running suit, I’m already dressed for the dance. Maybe you’d have better luck elsewhere.
Being caught changes a person forever,
dominating every action until their entire life is about running. What they eat, drink, wear, even sleeping patterns change. Some runners go so far as tracking every step. Jogging is the ego’s natural defense mechanism against the trauma, to get you so invested in running that it becomes a part of your identity.
Runners don’t talk about being caught, that’s not what they’re about. The community is all about running. That is the reason they train year round, and gather up across the country to race. It’s how they figure out, in order, which of them is least likely to be caught. The race is a giant chase simulation. Have you ever seen the relief on the face of a race winner? He knows it wouldn’t have been him. That whatever demon is chasing him, he’s outrun it for another day.