I stumbled across an old discussion on a message board while looking on Bing (Other Search engines are available), The discussion was about runners who don’t race. There was some strange responses and one that personally got my back up basically saying if you run and don’t race it’s like playing tennis but only against a ball machine. I found this a rather strange metaphor as a lot of people play tennis with friends but never actually enter tournaments. Also there was an idea that if you’re not directly competing with others it’s not a sport. I find this attitude quite strange. The dictionary definition of a sport is.
: a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other
: sports in general
: a physical activity (such as hunting, fishing, running, swimming, etc.) that is done for enjoyment
To me my biggest competitor and critic is me. I don’t need organised events to push myself to be a better runner. I used to do a lot of Mountain Bike Races in the 1990s the main reason for these was just so I could race places I wouldn’t normally ride. A lot of the respondents in the discussion who felt that you had to race otherwise it was ‘just a past time’ in some ways were doing themselves a disservice. I read a book years ago by Don Starkell called ‘Paddle the Amazon’ he decided with his son to Canoe 12,800 miles for no other reason than because he wanted to. I think reading the thread some of these people would class that as just going for a paddle equivalent to riding pedalo’s on a beach. Maybe Ferdinand Magellan and Christopher Columbus where just going for a wee sail?
Some of the greatest athletes and adventurers are people who do things for no other reason than they can. Maybe I read too much into people’s replies but I find running a funny activity it seems to be a thing that everyone assumes that you race or want to race. I personally have no problem what people classify my running as. The race I was going to enter I did because I thought it would be interesting (see previous blog). The fact I cant do it now does not stop me or reduce the challenges I give myself. In some ways I would argue that the best motivation and biggest competitor is yourself and should be yourself.