Why I run by Steve Kibble
Why do I run? Because I enjoy it. I don’t have any great insights as to why. For me, running is about running (and to escape the zombie apocalypse).
I didn’t know it at the time, but my passion for running most likely began when I was a young man in the army. It was simply part of the training regimen and an enjoyable one at that. And if you can run long distances in army fatigues, carrying a rifle and wearing a heavy backpack, then a marathon maybe isn’t the most difficult thing to do. Sadly after leaving military life the running stopped. I went to university, took a job as a IT consultant and had a young family. I became distracted by life. Fitness went out the window.
What drove me to resume running? It was the desire to get fit and be active again. A couple of guys at the office went running each lunchtime. So I tagged along and I’ve never looked back. It was being among a community of runners that inspired my interest in marathons. It’s why company wide programs that promote fitness among employees, such as Fit4Life at Tata Consultancy Services, can be so important in helping to spur beginners on their own running journey.
Since I resumed running in 2000, I’ve taken part in running events all around the world: everything from 10km runs to multi-day desert races. At last count, I had participated in more than 50 marathons, including New York twice and Mumbai once, and who knows how many half-marathons.
Beginning at half past five in the morning, the Mumbai Marathon has the earliest start of any major city marathon. You start running in total darkness. New York is extraordinary because with over 50,000 people you always feel supported. The people on the side of the road cheering you really make that race what it is. Their signs keep you going – and make you laugh.
While on long service leave last year I ran five marathons including three majors on two continents in two weeks: starting with Accra in Ghana, then flying to New York, and then back to Africa again for the Rift Valley Marathon along the edge of the Great Rift Valley in Uganda. Mad, I know. On the other hand, it’s a wonderful way to see vastly different parts of the world and run alongside people you would never ordinarily meet.
My advice to new runners – particularly to people like me who stopped and want to pick it up again: don’t bust a gut. I’ve seen too many people who run once or twice, go out too hard and then feel sore and never run again. I suggest starting off by running between telegraph poles: walk to the first, jog to the second, run to the third, and then repeat. It will help you gradually build up your running ability. There are also some great programs online designed to help just about anyone go from the couch to running 5 kilometers or 30 minutes in a matter of weeks.
Above all, if you’re preparing for a race, enjoy it. I remember waking up the morning after my first big race and thinking: “I did it. I ran a marathon!” It doesn’t get much better than that. Until you do it again, only faster. The hardest part is deciding which race you are going to do next.
Stephen Kibble is ANZ Practice Partner – Program Management at Tata Consultancy Services based in Sydney