On running for a very long time

A great author, Haruki Murakami, writes an entire book about a fascinating albeit slightly geeky topic, ultra distance running – it is bound to be good.

Usually when I approach the end of a marathon, all I want to do is get it over with and finish the race as soon as possible. That’s all I can think of. But as I drew near the end of this ultramarathon, I wasn’t really thinking about this. The end of the race is just a temporary marker without much significance. It’s the same with our lives. Just because there’s an end doesn’t mean existence has meaning. An end point is simply set up as a temporary marker, or perhaps as an indirect metaphor for the fleeting nature of existence. It’s very philosophical – not that at this point I’m thinking how philosophical it is. I just vaguely experience this idea, not with words, but as a physical sensation.

Excerpt taken from here.

PS. It reminds me of the time I encountered a serial runner on a Dutch beach. Slightly proud of my training for the marathon, as one is during the honeymoon days, I told him, lungs in my mouth, I was preparing for a 42km run. As he gradually, i.e. as gradual as it gets over the course of 30 seconds, outpaced me, he managed to tell me that he was out on his 40km “Sunday jog” in preparation for a 200km race:

Me: How do you feel after a race like that?
Dutch runner: Dead.
Me: How do you prepare for it?
Dutch runner: You run. A lot.

And there he was, a mythical creature, gone with the wind…

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  1. You Dopplr badge says “Berlin in September”. The 28th, I suppose?

  2. Christian Toennesen


  3. Oh, I *wanted* to participate but when I got around to sign up, they were out of start numbers. How bloody stupid of me. Now, I’m looking at Porto 26th October but it will be quite another experience than Berlin. Best of luck in Berlin.

  4. Christian Toennesen

    Too bad about that, you did talk about Berlin over here.

    It’s funny you should mention it, a good friend of mine also missed the deadline despite his intentions of taking part. Berlin is just massive and feels like running on home turf, so you should really go for it next year.

    Thanks for the wishes and good luck with the Porto event.

  5. I did go to Berlin two years ago and I couldn’t agree more on your view. I heard that the nationality best represented — except from Germans obviously — is Danes :-)

  6. Christian Toennesen

    Great, I shall stop preaching to the converted then. Do let me know what it’s like running in Porto – the combination of port and running seems rather intriguing!

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