May 09, 2012

A runner's duty to encourage

2012 BMO Vancouver Marathon. Photo: Kangsoon Park

Yesterday morning I received an email from a complete stranger by the name of Kangsoon Park. He had been watching the BMO Vancouver Marathon and taking pictures of the runners including of me.

He took the above photo at about 28K and made the effort to look up my name and track me down via email to send me the image. In his email Kangsoon said, "I am not a runner, who is still struggling from the last Saturday's 9K run on my own. Anyway I love taking photos of people running and the determination of the runners is very inspiring, especially the ones who run the full marathon."

The legendary Bart Yasso often talks about a runner's duty to encourage and/or mentor others who think they cannot do the same; I couldn't agree more and it's a key reason I began writing books. I really appreciated Kangsoon taking the time to email the picture to me.

So I wrote back thanking him and said:

This was by far my fastest marathon so I am very tired but very happy.

Running 9K on your own is fantastic so congratulations!!!

When I started running, I could only run 10 minutes. But it slowly got longer and longer. One day I was surprised to run for an hour (probably also 9K like you) and then one day 20K. This took at least a couple of years.

Keep running, be careful and listen to your body, and you will be surprised how far you will go if you are patient. If you want to run a marathon, you can. Take the time to let your body adjust to running, two or three years, perhaps longer. Many people start doing too much too soon, get injured and that stops your training.

Attached is a free copy of one of my books,
A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km, as a thank you for the photo. While it might sound crazy now that you are running 9K, I hope you enjoy the ideas and find inspiration.

I started running at the beginning of 1996 and I ran my first marathon three years later in 1999. Sunday was my 16th marathon, and I am still learning about running.

Stay injury-free and enjoy your training, and you will be surprised! 

Hope to meet you at a race some day,

Kangsoon responded late last night; he thanked me for the book, saying he was so inspired that he just signed up for his first 10K race, taking place next month.

Now that makes me very happy!

Check out more of Kangsoon's 2012 BMO Vancouver Marathon photos on Flickr.

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