Pastor's pen for 31st Jan 2020 - thankful

The last week or two I have experienced pain in my lower back and legs – knee, Achilles, upper hamstring etc. In several cases these relate to historic injuries. Other niggles just seem utterly random. However, a good reality check for all runners is to realize no one else actually cares about this stuff. Maybe your osteopath cares, but he is paid to do so.

Just ask your non-running partner who has been to a party densely populated with runners. Much of the conversation they have to endure is (to put it politely) not-that-interesting. The ‘athletes’ moan about their latest ailment or past glories. With a few altruistic exceptions, the other runners don’t care either, they are just waiting for a gap in the conversation so they can describe in detail their latest injury or ‘moment of infamy’ story. There's only so much you can stand of this stuff.

With that in mind, I’ve made a conscious decision to avoid both excessive whining or boasting this year. Rather, I choose thankfulness. Early 2021 marks the 40th anniversary of me becoming a regular runner. In 1981 I joined the Howick College running group, the beginning of a beautiful and relatively constant addiction. Let’s call it an enjoyable career of sustained, ill-informed, optimistic mediocrity that has possibly improved with age. ('Career' is possibly too strong a word....)

I’ve never been a daily runner, because there was always other stuff, like biking, soccer, tramping, touch footy and so on. Yes – cross training we call it now. Yet I am enormously thankful for those four decades. I worked out in the Covid lockdowns of 2020 that running is mostly about mental well-being for me. The physical aspect is an added bonus.

In recent days the struggle has been real. As I shuffle round the block or through the local bush, I feel the pull of old injuries bathed in Auckland’s oppressive blanket of summer humidity. Yet for those other moments of feeling lighter than air or running with the like-minded on a crisp morning, it’s definitely worth persevering.

Having a running event in the mountains this weekend where hundreds are able to gather when the world is seemingly still in Covid lockdown, is an enormous blessing. Also, I’m pretty thankful to still be out there doing it, aches and pains and all.

Being thankful to God for a couple of things this week has really lifted my spirits. What are some of the things you can be thankful for in 2021?


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