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Thursday, March 22, 2007
Endurance, Simply Stated
Ishmael Beah's A Long Way Gone is a story of youth interrupted by war; of endurance, simply stated.
Running is universal. Or as close to it as you are going to get. It transcends communities, continents, and cultures. There are organized races around the world, and throughout history, of almost any imaginable distance.
Distance running has become ritual and widespread--on the run to hunt, to celebrate spring or a harvest; to run a message, to lose weight, the reasons are as varied as the people who run.
We are privileged to run for our own reasons and of our own doing. In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah shares his experience as a boy in Sierra Leone. He runs for self preservation, as a teenager; runs for entire days, over bodies, without food, chased by soldiers. He describes what he sees in simple, horrible details, as matter-of-factly as he had to encounter it. His story is a tale of endurance.
Endurance is bigger than running. We are the fortunate, who test our own physical endurance by choice. That's a perspective too easy (for me) to take for granted, rolling out of bed, sipping coffee, cruising out the front door of the house; meeting friends for a group run; or mulling over what running shoes to buy next.
I try to smile as much as I can when I run.