Make the Run a Journey
Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Where will running take you in 2010? I’m picking up from the closing line in the last post, “May you go new places and envision new possibilities in the year ahead.”
This week, Morgan and I will take a detour to a wild corner of New Zealand’s West Coast for a 26K trail event, and next month we’ll head toward the bush by Melbourne for the sake of another trail race. We’re planning our Italy itinerary by looking at race websites as much as Lonely Planet, and we’re already thinking about where we can go to run during the week in August when both kids will be at sleep-away camp.
An interviewer for the website RunAbroad.com recently asked me, “One more reason to go running?” and I replied, “Running inspires and enhances travel. I can think of no better way to get to know a stretch of countryside or city than running through it, or better yet, participating in a race at a destination. When I think of trips I took over the past year or so with my family, I always visualize what I saw during my runs.” (I was flattered to be profiled by this cool website, which profiles races around the globe; you can read the whole interview here.)
I’d like to encourage all of you who gaze at your calendars in January and pencil in running goals and races for the year to find a running event that transports you to a completely different environment. Run it not necessarily for time but as a tourist, soaking up all the sights and sensations, and you may have an experience like I did at the Buenos Aires Marathon.
New Zealand is a dream destination for runners. This country has a network of well-maintained trails known as Great Walks that traverse the visually stunning glaciers, forests and beaches that New Zealand is famous for. My new friend Paul Charteris, an ultrarunner we ran with on the North Island, wrote an excellent overview of NZ’s running scene for IRunFar.com, and he also has loads of info on where to run on his blog, TrailruNZ.
Obviously travel and adventure are on my mind — not just the destinations and running events themselves, but why and how to make going new places and trying new things a top priority. I feel incredibly fortunate to discover firsthand how long-term family travel to unfamiliar, not-always-comfortable destinations can enhance personal growth, relationships and pure happiness in countless ways, which is a topic I touch on in our Away Together blog and hope to explore more this year. For that reason, I’d really appreciate hearing from others in the comment field below about where you’d like to run and explore in the not-too-distant future and why — and what’s your plan for going there, or what stands in your way.
I anticipate answers along the lines of “life gets in the way of living” — i.e. work and family commitments and/or lack of money keep you from going where you want to go and doing what you dream of doing. If that’s the case for you, then do you see a way around?
We had a whole list of reasons why we couldn’t and shouldn’t take the long trip we’re on, but we did it anyway. Running gave us a lot of the motivation and nerve we needed to get here.
So I’ll repeat the question because I’m really curious to know: Where will running take you?