~ Ben Cromwell
I’m a runner. I’ve been a runner for almost as long as I can remember. It started with my dad taking me out to the track at SIUE (Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville) and having me run a mile with him. It was a struggle. I was eight years old and four laps on a track seemed like a ridiculous distance to me. I remember struggling to get faster, working towards an eight minute mile, and when I finally broke through that barrier, I felt like the fastest kid on the planet. I’ve been a runner ever since.
Running requires a lot from a person. It requires strength and speed and endurance and stamina, but it also requires something else, an indefinable something related to discipline or will. I say related because those aren’t exactly the right words.
When you think of discipline, you think of forcing yourself to keep moving even when you’re out of energy, but running requires something else. It’s almost a trick. You tell yourself that all you need to do is keep moving until that next tree or that next crack in the pavement, and when you get there, you convince yourself you can go just a bit further… to that shadow up there or that blue car or that stop sign, and you keep doing this over and over until you’re at the end of your run. It’s not will power precisely. It’s more like the ability to believe what you’re telling yourself even though you know it’s a trick you may be wondering why such a skill would be important. In a world where people are constantly being told that crime is getting worse, jobs are becoming scarce, and money buys less, I think it’s important to be able to tell your self a different story and believe it.
I tell myself that most people have good intentions. I tell myself that things are bound to get better. I tell myself that the world is a good place to live. There are times when it’s easy to believe this, and times when it’s more difficult. When you fall down and skin your knee, or get laid off from your job, or have a fight with someone you care about, things can seem pretty bad, but you tell yourself that tomorrow you’ll find something beautiful, that you’ll laugh again, that you’ll get by, that circumstances are bound to turn around.
I guess what I’m getting at is optimism. Running teaches you how to keep going through the hard stuff until you can reach your goals. It’s good practice for life.
On March 10th Playworks in SLC is sponsoring a 5k and 1 mile fun run inLibertyPark. We’d like to invite you to come out and run with us. Not only will you be building your muscles and keeping fit, you’ll also be training yourself in optimism and supporting play in public schools throughout theSaltLakeValley. So sign up and start training. We’ll see you there! Ben is the Race Director for this event.