"One Runner Shares What It's Like to Run While Living in a War Zone" for Competitor.com. Not everyone will be interested in reading an article about how one man found ways to run in war zones. But the topic does raise a question: “Would you be willing to risk your life to keep running?”
I’ve never been in a war zone. I’ve been far away from home in unfamiliar locations for training or business. Or at home, running at times when locating people or places that would provide help if needed would not be possible. However, there are hotel concierges, friends, family, and other runners from which to seek advice and directions. And even though I should carry pepper spray when venturing into places that are strange, my only available weapon has likely been a car key.
Thus, I wanted to learn the dangers faced by the author in these locations. One seemed very dangerous. In Kosovo, Alvin Burns described how he had to carry a weapon and 3 liters of water to stay hydrated for 3-mile sessions in the dry mountain air. In Afghanistan, a dust-blown helipad served as a substitute running track. In other places, treadmills provided a solution to the problem of where/how to run, but foreign-language TV, bathing challenges, and electrical outage issues made running more closely resemble a “sufferfest” session.
Burns provided a glimpse into the tough running life experienced by some overseas personnel, in conflict zones in faraway places, that otherwise would be hidden from view. It made me grateful that my running life, when using good judgement, is relatively safe.
The issue of how terribly difficult and dangerous life in general is for the people living in war zones and other UNSAFE or DEVASTATED places is not addressed, but is ever present in thought and heart.
Safety is a significant concern as well in areas NOT ravaged by military action or nature. Earned Runs urges people to run or walk, train, and compete, and assists them with giving free bibs and support. But without the assurance of personal safety, these activities cannot be attempted in some neighborhoods or areas. Adding the expense and time to travel to find safety may break the will of some would-be runners and walkers.
Earned Runs ran an OPINION blog post earlier this year (June 1) about a ‘listicle’ citing the “healthiest” cities in the US. The ranking company had not included information or based calculations on household income, but did consider opportunities for recreation.
Like the author of the “War Zone”, some runners are at risk of harm when they workout. All the running community might consider their situation when it comes to supporting initiatives that create safe greenspaces and public athletic facilities in places we live and work. Not only can we help fellow runners, we can help our cities be highly ranked on “healthiest cities” lists.
I would probably not run if doing so required carrying a weapon.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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