I Have Been Known to Run | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
September 2010

I Have Been Known to Run

By: Aaron Rohre

I have been known to run: a lot at times, and a little at times. Running is one of my favorite past-times and hobbies.

I run for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest among them is that running is part of what keeps me on the sane side. I often feel myself out of balance when I don't run. I am not sure if it is a chemical thing, or simply a physical thing, but my wife can attest to the fact that I get a bit crabby when I haven't been running enough. It feels as though something is missing from my life when I don’t run; in fact, I would go so far as to say running is part of my identity.

I also run because it is one of the most serene things I can do for myself. I am able to focus on things that need my attention, work through things that are troubling or confusing to me, and I am able to meditate and pray over present concerns. I find that even when I am pushing my own physical limits, there is a transcendent quality to running; I meet and experience God while running in ways that I do not otherwise.

Running is first and foremost a physical art form. There is delicate balance to pushing yourself at the appropriate times and developing a well thought out plan for increasing mileage, intensity, and physical capability. There is efficiency of mechanics and motion that enables you to be a better or worse runner, and as with any art form, the immeasurable variable is always something connected to the desire of and guts of an individual. How hard will I push myself in this workout? Will I know when to back off and shut it down so as not to risk injury?

One of the many joys for me when running is to run with other people. The collegial atmosphere, the understanding that we will push one another and cheer on one another, and the feeling of people pushing ourselves to be better all combine to be an electric experience when running.

Running also helps me to understand the cycle of life better: there are ups and downs; you have good runs and bad runs; you achieve your goals and at times you fail to achieve them; you experience near physical perfection of exertion and you experience injury at the most inopportune times; you are faced with tough choices of strategy and tactics; and we learn to work together in order to accomplish everybody's goals rather than just your own. Running is one of the few things that truly demands and magnifies personal exertion, effort, and performance, but the longer I have been running the more I have come to appreciate and value the experience of running in community with others.

I encourage you to consider this quotation from Steve Prefontaine: "Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts."

Questions: In what ways do you experience God that you don’t otherwise? How do you nurture yourself physically and spiritually?

See more devotions from Aaron and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.