Joey @ theBabyKangaroo

This is me! This is my life!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why Do You Run? Why Do I Run?

I have been a runner for most part of my life! My phillosophy and reason to run has changed over the course of my life.

As a teenager, running gave me a sense of achievement! When I was younger during the school days, running had given me lot's of confidence. Just knowing you are able to do it slightly better and faster then the average girl next door! Running almost brought out the leader in me. Running too had brought me places! Back then, winning was almost everything! It is everything that has to do with a teenagers pride, prestige and popularity in the old school days!

As I got a little bit older, running became a recreational activity. Running still gives me confidence, it is still bringing me to new places and it also lead me to a much wider social network of like minded people. As the race distance becomes longer and longer, working my way towards my first 42km marathon, the friends and training partners grew, the challenges grew bigger too with each distance. The personal sense of achievement continues to grow with each successful lengthening of the race distances. Not to mention the medal tally too!

Is there still any kick in running after hitting the 42km full marathoner title? It is only human nature to keep trying. The challenge continues and it doesn't stop at 42km. Beyond 42km, there are still the ultramarathons (84km if I am not mistaken), ironmans, etc, etc to continue challenging the human spirit to outperform oneself.

Running too has it's consequences! Consequences that impacts ones health, both in the positive as well as the negative manner! It is the discretion of the individual runner to know when to stop and when to keep pushing ones own limits. Running has brought me a fair share of injuries, on top of the health benefits it has allowed me to enjoy. I guess each runner will in their own time mature and learn what is best for themselves.

8 years being a recreational runner, graduating from a full-fledge marathoner, I began searching for a deeper meaning to continue my running passion. Reflections of past achievements from running, somehow failed to bring a deeper meaning to life! With injured knees, I made myself to believe that my running years are numbered. And for all the distances and medals, all I got was 2 injured knees, some cash incentives, some personal best for my own records and a lifetime of memories? Worth it?

So as some of my friends continue their pursuit of ultradistances to better their personal best, I have decided to continue my passion and challenges laterally. I made a new resolution, that for as long as my knees can sustained running, I hope to use them up for a better cause. Of course I still hope running can help maintain my health, but I am also hoping it would make lateral impact on other peoples health, especially those who are less fortunate. Where running comes naturally to most of us, and we use our muscles without requiring much effort, there are those less fortunate where their muscles literally have given up on them. Muscles gone to waste! Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a rare genetic disorder that affects mostly boys where a particular component of a muscle protein is missing which caused muscles to function improperly. These patients experience muscle degeneration as they grow older until paralysis affects them and finally slow death resulting from muscle failures, especially those that affects the heart and respiratory system. There is no cure as yet but research is underway towards a cure for these patients! While still awaiting a cure, patients currently diagnosed with such disorder can only wait for the onset of their symptoms and assistance are mostly in the form of providing aids to help make their lives easier and more comfortable.

So I would like to call out to all my running friends out there, keep running while you race, but why let your muscles go to waste! If you could seize an opportunity to be able to make a difference in your own life as well as the lives of those less fortunate while you run your own race, would you?

As runners, we all know that overcoming a cramped muscle in the middle of a race needs only a mind over matter to complete the race! Overcoming Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) needs MORE than mind over matter!" Unlike patients with cancer, AIDS, and other life-threatening diseases which are afforded much public support and awareness in the form of established societies that extends help to these patients, patients diagnosed with DMD in Malaysia currently lacks such social support and awareness and it is to address this need that my desire to do something for them is born!

"I am not in anyway a great leader, organiser nor manager, but only a person who is trying to make a dream into a reality.


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