Why do you race?
- Are you looking to achieve new goals?
- Are you looking to enhance your life?
- Are you looking to push yourself to a limit?
Maybe, it is all those things….
However, racing (and life) today is very different to say just 5-years ago. Social media has changed all that. Our lives are shared daily, hourly or by the minute in some cases.
Is racing about ‘the selfie?’
Mariepaule Pierson here takes a look at the ‘race report’ and provides an enlightening insight into why we run…. THE BLOG!
Dear friends and Facebook followers, I cannot thank you enough for the support you have provided me in my times of need, as this mostly faithful account will show.
As you know, I attempted the infamous Parish Walk on a remote Island of the Irish Sea, cut off from all civilisation for as much as 2 or 3 days a year when the weather is more adverse than an English summer. Their flag is a mess of three human legs, quartered and reassembled in a grotesque spurred star; at least I knew the score, should I fail to finish.
Bracing myself for the task ahead, involving a trip to Gatwick in the not-so-early hours of Friday morning, I just made it in time on the pavement outside my house, amazed by the sheer strength of human resilience so early into the day before a race event. Luckily, I still had Wi-Fi connection and hypothermia was only just a mere possibility on the scale of unlikely disasters ahead.
As soon as the car arrived, I felt a surge of gratitude. My lack of training had not been in vain. Here I was, stepping in the front passenger seat, treated like a VIP even before proving my worth over the coming days, while three brave athletes were narrowly confined on the backseat, feeble squashed morning thoracic cages sacrificing their airspace for my comfort. As you, my trusted FB friends, know it well, this kind of incredible support you can get from complete strangers is what life is all about, the likes and encouragement messages without which hardly any one save the hardest hardened survivor can even consider doing any sporting event at all.
In any case, we reached Gatwick, and thereupon, the Isle of Man. Digging very deep within myself, and in spite of the absence of blisters or joint pain, or even the dreaded dehydration which is so prevalent on low cost airlines, I made it to the luggage reclaim and we piled up in the car, this time using every bit of mental strength remaining to take my place in the rear seat. In such conditions, when team work is essential for survival, it is the unconditional support of one’s fellow compatriots, even though we were in effect not far from asylum seekers from three different countries, which sustains one.
The traversée of the Island was no mean feat. The 10 miles from the airport to Peel, with luggage in tow, as well as the necessary water, food and supplies for the Parish Walk the following day and night, were only achieved thanks to the clarity of mind and sharpness of spirit of our driver, who, well ensconced at the wheel, allowed us a little detour via Snaefell, the highest mountain and the (only) summit higher than 2,000 feet on the Isle of Man, at 2,034 feet above sea level. The summit is crowned by a railway station, cafe and several communications masts. And, let’s add for the sake of accuracy, by a statue of Joey Dunlop, motorcyclist icon who won the Isle of Man TT 26 times. My poor suffering knees will bear witness of the truth of this brutal ascent. Grass, sheep, even a cloud, nothing would stop us from reaching the café at the top, and we gave it our all, throwing caution to the air and risking everything for the foggy lack of breath-taking view, limbs screaming for relief, hands numb from the unforgiving dampness of the wind… this will be a loosening up stroll I will never forget.
I agree, I hadn’t trained enough. My fault entirely. Only on small occasions had I managed a whole day without internet, and had not done a multiday event in months. God knows where I found the inner strength to stay nearly a whole day and a half without social media, but sometimes the unsurmountable difficulty, the exhaustion, the grandiose scenery, make you forget all your misery for a last surge of raging resolve. The hotel didn’t have Wi-Fi and the island, although a financial tax haven, on a purely telecom basis, is inhospitable and social media averse. We decided on the sheer shock of the revelation, to gather our resources and share our remaining data. Eyes sore from straining on tiny screens, fingers swollen to twice their size and numb from typing digits and letters, neck and shoulders in need of deep tissue massage from the relentless effort of looking down on our devices, oh the pain and mental blistering. But it was all worth it. We were connected! We could all sit at the breakfast table the next morning, typing to each other via our mobiles, communication restored! I had felt so alone, but the memories of those dark times are fading in the light of the amazing connectedness we all felt. Thank you again, my FB friends, for your likes and oohs and aahs and wonders and words of encouragement and congratulations. This would not have been possible without your faithful and deep addiction to other people’s news feed.
The next day was the 85 miles’ parish walk, then we flew back to London without incident.
We would love your feedback. Let us know does this post ring true for you, are you the blogger, are you the reader, are you the participant….
Why do you run?