The Joy of Running
The warm and personal story of a runner's boyhood, his first experiences in running, his youthful ambitions and frustrations, and how he developed the power he felt within him to become the greatest Miler of all-time
By Roger Bannister, Sports Illustrated
I remember a moment when I stood barefoot on firm dry sand by the sea. The air had a special quality as if it had a life of its own. The sound of breakers on the shore shut out all others. I looked up at the great clouds, like white-sailed galleons, chasing proudly inland. I looked down at the regular ripples on the sand, and could not absorb so much beauty. I was taken aback—each of the myriad particles of sand was as perfect in its way. I looked more closely, hoping perhaps that my eyes might detect some flaw. But for once there was nothing to detract from all this beauty.
In this supreme moment I leapt in sheer joy. I was startled and frightened by the tremendous excitement that so few steps could create. I glanced round uneasily to see if anyone was watching. A few more steps—more self-consciously and now firmly gripping the original excitement. The earth seemed almost to move with me.
I was almost running now, and a fresh rhythm entered my body. No longer conscious of my movement, I discovered a new unity with nature. I had found a new source of power and beauty, a source I never dreamt existed. From intense moments like this, love of running can grow.
As a boy I had no clear understanding of why I wanted to run. I just ran anywhere and everywhere—never because it was an end in itself, but because it was easier for me to run than to walk. My walk was ungainly, as though I had springs in my knees. I always felt impatient to see or do something new, and running saved time.
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