For those non-runners out there, try an experiment. Run a mile, and then tell everyone at work. Then run 10 miles, and tell those same co-workers. After accomplishing a mile, people will applaud your efforts to become healthy and marvel at the distance. So with 10 miles, you expect 10 time the praise and admiration. Instead, you’re greeted with questions about what possessed you to go that far, jokes about only running when chased, and inaccurate medical knowledge from non-medical people about how your joints will be ruined. Admiration is in inverse proportion to the amount of distance run; so the farther you go, the less your enthusiasm makes sense to the average person. Ask a marathoner, ultra-marathoner or tri-athlete why they go such far distances and the explanation will either be a half-assed attempt to explain or just some canned joke used a thousand times. But I’ve always noted a vague smile attached to it.
That smile is complex as it is innocent. We are amused when non-runners think that 10 miles is a long way to run. There is also amusement in the knowledge that we can’t explain the answer, at least no wholly. The previous posts I’ve written before this one are lengthy, but even then do not fully express what happens on a good run. I feel alive and exhilarated while also calm and relaxed. There’s pride at my own PRs and humility at the thought that I am a slow amateur. Overall, the final reason cannot be explained, only experienced. Why would someone run 26.2 miles when he can just as easily drive it? You’ll have to try it to fully find out.