Fitness (His Edition)
The human spirit....
A number of events, both good and bad, have happened over the past few weeks that have left an indelible mark on me. They have highlighted and reinforced the notion that physical endeavours and the human spirit seem to be inexorably linked.
The stories of suffering, sacrifice, teamwork, camaraderie and triumph that came from the monumental endurance events held recently in South Africa, like the 10th edition of the Absa Cape Epic, the Old Mutual Two Oceans Ultra Marathon and the Spec-Savers Ironman, tend to invoke unique feelings in anyone who has ever pushed themselves in the gym, on the road or in the water. It doesnít matter if itís a 10km fun run, a CrossFit class or a 700km mountain bike stage race, the fact that human beings have pushed their bodies to the limit activates a primal emotion in most of us, which seems to be shared by both competitors and supporters alike. Whether itís the cheering fans or the exhausted competitors who embrace at the finish line after willing each other on, there are few instances in modern life when complete strangers interact in this way.
It recently dawned on me that this is one of the main reasons why I, like so many others, have become so addicted to mass participation sporting events of late. Sure, the personal feelings of accomplishment that come with crossing the finish line or achieving a new personal best are also major factors, not to mention the health and fitness benefits, but the feelings of community, togetherness and shared accomplishment that go hand-in-hand with these events are what make them truly special.
It is for this reason why I was so appalled by the events that unfolded at the Boston Marathon on Monday 15 April. Sure, horrible things like bombings happen all over the world, almost on a daily basis these days, but the fact that it happened at a sporting event like one of the biggest marathons in the world hit closer to home for a number of people, especially me. It is sad that a day meant to celebrate the human spirit was used to try and destroy it by whoever perpetrated these heinous, cowardly acts. I hope that this event doesnít begin to erode one of the last remaining platforms where humans feel free enough to connect with each other through shared physical endeavour. It will be a sad day for humanity if that happens...