“My feet is my only carriage…”
Bob Marley sang this lyric in arguably his most iconic track ‘No Woman No Cry’. In the context of the song life is tough but Bob has to keep going, he has “to push on through…”
For me this lyric speaks of simplicity, and in the context of running it reminds me of the simplicity of our sport and how that is what fundamentally makes it special. “All you need is a pair of trainers” runners will say, and it’s true the necessary kit can be minimal. But there’s more to its simplicity than that; more to its less so to speak.
I’ve taken up many pursuits over the years and learnt it’s often not just the kit you need, but specific environmental conditions too. Surfing for example, yes you need your board and you need to be in the sea, but most important you need waves. Snowboarding is another; once you’re kitted out you need to be up a big hill that’s covered in snow. And not just any snow but the ‘right’ snow, nice soft powdery snow. Windsurfing you need… Well the clue is in the name. And if you don’t need Mother Nature to play ball you might need at least one other person to make your game possible.
Running you can do by yourself, with friends or amongst thousands. You can go out whatever the weather and wherever you are. And as for needing trainers, there’s many would argue that even this minimal concession to kit is superfluous to requirements, that all you really need is two bare feet.
I am gradually becoming an apostle of simplicity, the older I get the more I believe that life really is best when at its most simple. Running embodies that simplicity for me, a moment in the day when life is stripped back to the bare essentials, when the mind can be cleared and the body does nothing more than respond to a primal instinct.
How to make the rest of life as simple is perhaps the real challenge. Maybe a run will help…