I once heard Knox Robinson say that running was an act of rebellion. When I first heard it, I latched on to that statement for a reason I was not wholly sure of at that moment. Maybe it was because Knox seems like a cool cat or maybe because he is a black runner that started a dope run club in NYC or let’s face it...maybe it was because it was a quote from him in a commercial about running earbuds. Commercials seem to have that affect on us...a well put together commercial can change the way the world thinks. We all remember “This is your brain...now this is your brain on drugs”, right? I mean who wants their brain to be a fried egg with a broken yoke??
Either way, I felt it to my core...an act of rebellion.
I first watched that commercial a little over a year ago and so much has changed in me and in the world or at least my outlook on the world I live in. I now know why I felt a natural congruency with his statement.
Running in America is a hobby or method of exercise that certainly wouldn’t be considered as mainstream. It’s almost extreme for someone to say they ran a long run of 14 miles on a Sunday for no apparent reason. The average coworker or family member would have one question, “Why?”. Running simply put, goes against the grain of the fabric of our society.
Running in the black community? Forget about it. Obviously there are always exceptions to the rule, but stepping off the porch to go for a easy, tempo, or fartlek run is almost unthinkable. The closest most of us have been to running (speaking for myself and others in the communities am a part of) is the high school track and field teams...sprinters. We have been known for being among the fastest in the world when we toe the line on the track from the high school level all the way up to rockin gold spikes representing the USA on the world stage. But going for a jog...for no good reason?!? I think you get the point.
Running for physical and mental health? Why do that when you can just pop a pill the doctors pass out like candy? Why run 3-6 days a week to lose weight when you can go on an extreme trendy cleanse, diet or a flat stomach tea? Why go through the trouble of being alone on a long run at mile 7 of 16 asking ourselves all the hard questions we’ve been avoiding and coming back having learned something? Our society is all about the quick fix. All about selling some product to the masses to put a bandaid on the issue. Cutting only the tops of the weeds instead of getting to the roots of the issues.
Running is an act of rebellion. To run is to stand in opposition of how we have been programmed to act and think. To run is to take your destiny into your hands and let your feet guide the way to your tomorrow. To run is to take control...to tear down old limitations...to get away...to say NO...to be free...to rebel.
Be free! Rebel! Run!!