I love this quote.

I heard it on an episode of the Ultrarunner Podcast (ultrarunnerpodcast.com) with Jason Hardrath (listen here). Jason has made waves in the FKT (Fastest Known Time) scene. If this is a new concept to you, it’s effectively completing a route from A to B in the fastest time. There are popular routes (like the Bob Graham Round in the UK) but as long as you can show evidence of the record you can define your own route and others can look to surpass your time. You can check out more on the FKT site.

I really enjoyed listening to this podcast the other day, mainly because Jason’s attitude resonates deeply with me. In the past I’ve found when I’ve met people for the first time and we’ve started talking about hobbies I’ve been asked “are you a runner?” To which I would always answer “no”.

That might sound surprising but I’ve never seen running as something that defines me. I’ve always seen it as a gateway to adventures, spending time with friends and getting that endorphin fix. But I’ve equally enjoyed cycling, CrossFit, indoor rowing, or anything else that feels like a workout and, ideally, involves spending time with good people. 

“I’m a passionate human being, and I’m always going to find some medium to express that externally because that’s who I am on the inside.”

Jason Hardrath,

I spent most of my childhood throwing my energy and passion into music (while still playing a lot of football in the local park). Since leaving school, my passions have reversed and now I get much more of my endorphins from exercise than the thrill of a musical performance. How long that will last I don’t know, but for now I’m embracing it.

What I find fascinating and inspiring in Jason’s story is his pragmatic attitude to making the most out of his running and life. When he was younger he showed he could excel in running, but then he had a car accident and found himself seriously injured – a situation that would mean it unlikely he ever attained the same standard again. Rather than letting the accident define him, though, he accepted that he would always be able to find something else to do to give him an outlet to express himself and give him joy. I think it’s helpful to remind yourself of this sort of perspective sometimes.

Over the past few months I realise that if someone was to ask me now if I’m a runner I would probably answer “yes”. Partly due to the (minor) injuries I’ve encountered along the way I’ve found myself doing more running in my training than I had wanted and becoming more single-minded in removing obstacles in my ability to run, even stopping rowing (which could aggravate my labrum issue) and narrowing my strength exercises to minimise risk of further injury, however minor.

Ask me the same question the day after the race, though, and I may have changed my answer again!