My running inspiration comes from all different types of people -- elites, sub-elites, and just folks who love putting their feet on the ground, one after another.
I thought I would list a few people who inspire me to run and why. The list is very long, so I've just picked a few who stand out. I have not met any of these runners, although I've spoken to a few of them through social media. Their influence on me through their blogs, twitter, forums, and performances speaks volumes.
I'd love to hear about your running inspirations in the comments.
In running circles he comes across as the "almost there" guy. The man, who despite having the 50k US record and being a four time Olympic marathon qualifier, just can't quite hack it on the biggest stage. And maybe he can't, but he's doing what he loves, which is running. He's out there smiling and inspiring folks through his running and through his contact on his twitter account (@joshcox).
If I had known that my Comrades race would have been undone by a loose intestinal system, would I have spent 8 hours a day for the past 6 months prepping for this past Sunday’s race? The answer to the rhetorical is a resounding yes.
Those aren't the words of a man who isn't doing what he wants. It's incredibly inspiring to see someone following their dreams, while also taking the time to encourage others to follow theirs as well.
He's an athlete who seems completely accessible to the common runner, while being completely beyond them with his performances.
Josh strikes me as the epitome of the "blue collar" runner, out there day after day no matter what putting the miles and smiling every step of the way. Perhaps that's just the perception he gives off for me, but perception is reality for those observing.
He's a polarizing figure in elite distance running due not only to his decisions to shed his coach and become his own guide, but also because of this staunch Christianity. That I would pick two hardcore Christians (Josh and Ryan) to list as inspirations speaks volumes to how they separate their religion from their running persona's.
Ryan has gone on record more than once saying that he's a Christian, get over it. He believes in God, prays until his knees bleed and that's just the way it is.
Personally, I think that's a bit nuts, but I respect the fact that he doesn't care what others think, nor does he try to force his beliefs on others anymore-- he simply answers people's questions when they ask him about his faith and running. That is something I respect tremendously; the ability to face the world on one's own terms.
Running Times: Are you currently learning anything about who God is through running or racing? Ryan Hall: Every day, man. God is always teaching me more about who he is and who I am while I am out there. For me running is the ultimate school ground.
This is where his true inspiration for me comes from, his ability to throw off the conventional reins that people typically affix to themselves and set out on the path he feels is right. He coaches himself, prefers to run alone, and the world be damned, he does it his way.
The fact that he can say "For me running is the ultimate school ground.", I don't care how he got there, that can be internalized and understood on many different levels with, or without god.
It can be difficult to buck the trend, especially when your livelihood depends on it, but Ryan continues to do what he thinks is right. I try to model that in my life.
70 pounds lost in 2+ years through dedication and consistency. That is practically unfathomable for me to imagine dropping 70 pounds, partly because it would kill me, but mostly because of the dedication that it takes to consistently improve like that in the face of adversity.
I originally followed Brian on his twitter feed a few years ago and have had the joy of following his progress from a big beast, to an absolute running beast. When I think of what he's accomplished, I think of a man staring up at the top of a tall mountain and thinking that's where he wants to be. As he looks down the mountain to the path he must traverse to get there he sees 100,000 stairs.
Instead of turning around and walking away from the trek, Brian owned it and has patiently taken every step to reach the heights. When he made it to the top, he realized that the sky was actually the limit, not the mountain top. He continues to explore his boundaries through consistent work, and trial & error.
On top of all of that, he has spent time raising money for various charities!
Brian is an inspiration through his dedication, perseverance, and kind hearted gestures.
The man lived out of his truck in Moab, UT so he could run trails, enjoy nature, and be able to afford it. What's not to love about that outlook on life?
The shoes he runs in are very minimalist and he runs more barefoot miles than some people run total in a week (~30 mpw). He makes no apologies for doing most of his running wearing shoes. Instead, he helps design them to do just what he likes and nothing more. With a health dose of cynicism, he says:
One has to be only mildly cynical to accept that shoe company/athlete relationships are primarily motivated by the opportunity to use the association with said athlete in order to sell more shoes. It is a decidedly business relationship, but this certainly does not necessarily mean that it is a negative relationship of sinister exploitation and myopic money-mongering.
He's an ultrarunner (100 miler's), which in itself is incredibly inspiring, since I still can't fathom running that long, let alone at the pace he's able to achieve. Imagine running 100 miles in just over 13 hours? The sheer will power and dedication to even train your body for that type of task is baffling.
Anton is also very appreciative of the land, which is why he's always out on the trails, running up mountains and communing with nature. The great outdoors has a very special place in my heart as well, and finding like minded people -- folks who truly enjoy being out in nature running on trails -- always make me smile.
Tony inspires me through his minimalist approach, his love and appreciation of nature, and his philosophical views on running.
In my heart, I love philosophy. The idea of introspection, extrospection, and all the other "spection's" gets my brain bubbling with glee. Jeff is a philosopher by trade (hence the whole PhD) and does a fantastic job of philosophizing on running.
Not every blog post he makes hits home for me, often because they are a bit over my head, but with each one I learn something new. The truly great posts leave me thinking, "I always thought that, but could never articulate it".
This conception of logic takes it to be something that operates independent of passion and emotion. Logic uses universal and objective reasons, which are ordered under the laws of thought and do not allow for absurd conclusions or the possibility of contradiction. On this conception of logic, to write on "the logic of long distance" means spelling out in reasons that are universally available, clear, and well ordered, an account of why it is that long-distance runners do what they do.
A person who can help you better understand yourself, your desires, and your actions is one who is truly inspirational.
Jeff inspires me through his associations of running and philosophy, his running consistency, and his general love for the sport.