Running and Philosophy: A Marathon for the Mind is a unique anthology of essays exploring the philosophical wisdom runners contemplate when out for a run.
Running and Philosophy, perhaps surprisingly, have a lot in common:
One.- Both are often difficult, and often rewarding.
Two.- Each requires endurance and patience.
Three.- Runners and philosophers often receive puzzled looks from non-runners and non-philosophers.
Why would someone get out of bed on a cold, dark winter morning in order to run five miles? And what in the world can you do with a degree in philosophy, anyway?
Of course, most runners aren’t professional runners. But it’s also true that most philosophers aren’t professional philosophers. We are all philosophers. We have beliefs about the nature of reality, the nature of human beings, what kind of life is the best life, and whether or not there is God, to name just a few.
Four.- Runners and philosophers want to get somewhere.
The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy notes that the term ‘discourse’ is derived from a Latin word–discursus–which means a ‘running from one place to another’. In pursuit of answers to life’s big questions, philosophers move from such questions–What can we know? What is real? Does God exist? How should I live? What is true happiness?–towards possible answers to those questions. Professional philosophers create and analyze discourses in pursuit, ultimately, of the truth.
Runners want to get somewhere too. Sometimes we simply want to make it to the end of a training run. In a race, some runers want to arrive at the finish line first and in record-setting time, while others are just happy to arrive there at all. But most runners seek more than the finish line, or the end of a trainning run. Many also take running to be an important way to arrive at some truth about themselves and the things in life that they care about. For many of us, running is a path to self-discovery, a part of our pursuit of happiness, and provides a time of solitude within which we are able to reflect on our lives and some of the bigger questions of life.
Five.- The longer you go, the harder it gets.