Long distance running is the most defining characteristic of the human race. Our ability to run at moderate speeds for long distances is a uniquely human characteristic. A human being can outrun every animal over a marathon. It is therefore very interesting to think about what exactly it is that inspires people to run and what inspires the greatest distance runners to run at the speed they do.
As runners of all levels enter into prolonged periods of breathing and pacing they often experience something commonly known as a “runner’s high”. Scientifically explained as the activation of endorphins, there is something to this experience, which lends itself to also having a spiritual explanation.
These long periods of running bring about a calm and peaceful mentality and perspective, characteristically similar to spiritual practices like meditation and prayer.
Many of the greatest endurance runners in the world find their identity in a particular faith. Belonging to something bigger than themselves, their faith gives them greater perspective and enables them to better deal with doubt and defeat.
From the elite runners in Eastern Africa to the running clubs that dot the North American landscape, there is a sense that we are doing so much more than putting one foot in front of the other.
Transcend is a new film featuring and documenting the world’s greatest marathon runners and will be released in the summer of 2013.