Thursday, September 13, 2012

Run Happy

Do runners feel happy when they run? Personally, I think they do, because all the runners I know are always  happy to run, and they will frown and curse if they don't get to run for whatever reason.  If so, one must ask, why is it so that some (if not most) of them put on a constipated/tortured face whenever you see them run? Of course there are exceptions. We do see the sweetest smiles in running photographs too, but not many of them. And they usually smile because the knew they are being photographed.

The first 'tortured' face runner that comes to my mind is Emil Zatopek-the legendary Czeh Olympian.  Zatopek is the ultimate grand master of the "run_with_the_constipated_face". The picture below shows the typical running facial expression of the legendary Olympic distance runner.

His lifetime achievements include gold medal in the 10,000-metre race at the 1948 Olympics in London and three gold medals at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland: in the 5,000- and 10,000-metre races and in the marathon. During his career he set 18 world records, holding the 10,000-metre record from 1949 to 1954, his best time being 28 min 54.2 sec; he was the first runner to break the 29-minute mark. He also set world records for 5,000 metres, 10 miles, 20,000 metres, 15 miles, 25,000 metres, and 30,000 metres. He must have loves running.

If you care to read more about his passion for running (plenty of literature written about him - try google his name ), one cannot help but to decide that he is very passionate about running. He is also known to train in any weather, including snow, and would often do so while wearing heavy work boots as opposed to special running shoes.

No, he doesn't looked like that all the time. He smiles too. Here is the proof.

So is he happy to run? When asked about his tortured facial expressions, Zátopek is said to have replied that "It isn't gymnastics or figure skating, you know." Well, that answer tells us a lot about running. Running takes so much out of you that it is almost impossible to put on a smile sometimes. But that doesn't mean the runner is not happy.

There can be many reasons why people are happy when they run.  For me and many of my fellow runners, to be able to run is already happiness. Period. In many ways, it is a blessing. It means that you are healthy, fit and alive.

What makes you happy when you run? Feel free to give us your comment at our facebook page posting: RunHappy.

Other interesting notes about Emil Zatopek.
Zatopek is also famous for his generosity, for he gave one of his gold medal away as a gift to Australian runner Ron Clarke, a 10,000m world record holder who had come away from two Olympics empty handed.

Zatopek, passed away at the age of 78, and was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal after his death in 2000.

Some of Emil Zatopek famous quotes:
"If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon."

"Great is the victory, but the friendship of all is greater. "

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