Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner

Have you seen the movie, Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner? Well, my story does not in any way relate to that. But yes, the tagline does. I am a long distance runner. And I am almost always lonely on my runs, whether short or long. Today I went for a short run in the evening in the hills of Sikkim and the road was desolated of any traffic, people or even dogs. Because it was cold, foggy and about to get dark. So, while taking a leisurely trot down the road, I was thinking about a new post and remembered this movie and hence the concept. Why it came to being and how do I relate to it?

Answer was not simple or maybe there is no answer at all. I am primarily an introvert. My wife is sick of me for being an introvert. I, basically, don’t open up quickly to anybody as she wants me to. Call it being cautious or plain shy. To escape the hustle bustle of the life, I find peace in the runs. Because then I generally let my mind go blank or is it I am incapable of thinking deep like philosophers? I don’t know, again.

The other day, one of my colleagues shared with me that he can’t run even a 100 metre alone, leave aside running longer than that. He saw me that day coming back from a run alone in the morning. I told him that I like running alone. At my own pace. Enjoying my “Me time”. Basically I am quite comfortable in my head. He was somewhat surprised. I don’t know why? When I was in my previous duty station, I was preparing for Hyderabad Marathon, I used to go out for my weekly long runs at 3 am. I never felt it awkward. I sometimes used to have a couple of issues to think about on my runs. Almost every time I had a solution to it or I used to completely forget about it. Or sometimes I liked to think about some beautiful experience like my first love or a wonderful vacation with my family etc. In fact I never felt alone on these long runs. I had my thoughts with me. So, is there loneliness at all during the runs?

I sometimes feel selfish when I go running. It feels like I am neglecting my beautiful wife and my naughty son. But I can’t help it. I sometimes have to get up early in the morning for my run. For that I need to sleep latest by 11 pm, but if my wife plans something for the night(it can be anything, except what you are thinking), then I have to break her heart. But this happens generally during the peak season of training. During the run, I do feel bad for refusing her but that’s how runners are. At the hind sight, I think I also need my time in the whole day, alone. To think or just to stay blank.

So, the concept of loneliness of a long distance runner is, in my opinion, staying aloof from the loved ones because of the obsession of running. It may not be running alone on the trail or road. Distancing ourselves from family, friends is what causes loneliness in life. On the run, we can’t take them unless our loved ones also love running, then perhaps there will be no loneliness.

Are you okay with the thoughts in your head during the run?

Do you like to run alone or in a group? 

Does your spouse approve of your obsession?

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Author: Neel

I am Neel and the creator of borN. I am an ultra marathoner, scuba diver, adventurer, writer and father of an extremely active child.

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