Run no. 43 – Running is Freedom


Distance: 4.53 miles  Time: 41’04”   (PB 38’ 28”)

It struck me today how much freedom running gives me.

There is the physical sense of freedom; particularly for those of us lucky enough to be able to run in the countryside. It is great to be able to run through an open landscape, with clear views to the horizon; a real sense of freedom.

There is another freedom running gives me. I don’t listen to music when running. This was something I could never do during the past 14 years when I lived in rural France.

There, running along narrow country roads, you were highly likely to meet farm machinery taking up the whole road and with various spikey and death-dealing implements hanging off it in all directions (sometimes even falling off it!). You had to stay alert with your ears open and be ready to move onto the verge at any moment! So I got out of the habit of listening to music, and actually I now prefer to run in silence. I find it gives me freedom to think. My mind can wander, thoughts can arise, inspiration can come, and solutions can present themselves… all because my mind is free.

There is also the freedom from interruption. The forty or so minutes that I usually run for are completely free from ‘phone calls, texts, social media updates etc. Just an ‘empty’ space in my day. Feels like freedom!

Mobiles ‘phones are great and I like much of what they enable me to do, but they are also an insidious life-controller, unless you can make the technology your servant and not your master.

I remember hearing a man say that if there is any object in your life that you couldn’t give away if God called you to do so, then you don’t own it, it owns you.

I wonder if there isn’t a similar aphorism one could create about mobile ‘phones? The other evening I was watching a film with my wife. Just before the end of the film my mobile beeped. We had had a minor family crisis during the day and a friend was emailing me with some information that might be helpful – information for me to forward to one of my sons.

I didn’t need to forward the email then and there, half an hour wouldn’t have changed anything, I could even have done it the next morning. But I picked up my ‘phone and did it straight away.

I had just finished sending the email as the final credits started to roll. After watching an hour and fifty minutes of the film, I had missed the big ending! I was somewhat mumpy!

It was no-one’s fault but my own. Although I tried hard to blame my wife! The insidious life-controlling mobile had won and had ruined my evening. Two hours I would never get back.

Which is why running, with its enforced absence from ‘phones and other ‘stuff’ is really valuable. Perhaps more so than at any time in human history as we are pushed insidiously to do more and more, without being given the times and space to consider whether it is actually worth doing in the first place.

I am more and more convinced of the spiritual value of running as I see the benefits that it brings to my life.

Keep running. Keep running with God.