Which passages function as your waymarkers? Which running-related/centred/inspired text guide or move you – or, for that matter, makes you, a runner, pause, in wonderment? We activated these passages as waymarkers throughout the day at #r3fest 2014. Many thanks to curator-author-presenter-producer(-walker) Gareth Evans for this suggestion.
Nominated by Vybarr Cregan-Reid:
My eyes were in my feet. – Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain.
Nominated by Andrew Filmer:
Running makes the road. And trust no thought arrived at sitting down. – Eddie Ladd, incorporating George Sheehan, The Bobby Sands Memorial Race, 2010.
Nominated by Amelia Johnstone and Peter Hathaway:
…the important thing in life is not to triumph but to compete…not victory but combat…not to have vanquished but to have fought well…not winning but taking part…– Pierre de Coubertin.
Nominated by Run and Become:
Run and Become, Become and Run, Run to succeed in the outer world, Become to proceed in the inner world. – Run and Become.
Nominated by James Steventon:
All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you: digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed. – Richard Adams. Watership Down.
Nominated by Gavin Weedon:
We never run alone. – paraphrased the sentence from Donna Haraway’s ‘we never eat alone’ and retaining her posthumanist sensibility.
Nominated by Richard Wright:
People who do not engage in physical activities inadvertently spend much of [their lives] in a slightly depressed mental state’. – Mike Stroud. 2004. Survival Of The Fittest: The Anatomy of Peak Physical Performance.
Nominated by Yow Siew Kah, who says that while ‘this is not directly related to running’, it is ‘a response to how the mass media often links running with “health” and “longevity”, suggesting a kind of slow, bland death’:
I see too many men delay their exits with a sickly, slow reluctance to leave the stage. It’s bad theater as well as bad living”. – John Steinbeck. Travels with Charley: In Search of America.
Nominated by Alan Latham and Kai Syng Tan:
Movies are made out of darkness as well as light; it is the surpassingly brief intervals of darkness between each luminous still image that make it possible to assemble the many images into one moving picture. Without that darkness, there would only be a blur. Which is to say that a full-length movie consists of half an hour or an hour of pure darkness that goes unseen. If you could add up all the darkness, you would find the audience in the theater gazing together at a deep imaginative night. It is the terra incognita of film, the dark continent on every map. In a similar way, a runner’s every step is a leap, so for a moment he or she is entirely off the ground. For those brief instants, shadows no longer spill out from their feet, like leaks, but hover below them like doubles, as they do with birds, whose shadows crawl below them, caressing the surface of the earth, growing and shrinking as their makers move nearer or farther from that surface. For my friends who run long distances, these tiny fragments of levitation add up to something considerable; by their own power they hover above the earth for many minutes, perhaps some significant portion of an hour or perhaps far more for the hundred-mile races. We fly; we dream in darkness; we devour heaven in bites too small to be measured. – Rebecca Solnit. 2006. A Field Guide to Getting Lost.
It was not just sweat glands that made us premier endurance predators. It was also our minds fuelled by passion. Our enthusiasm for the chase had to be like the migratory birds’ passion to fly off on their great journeys, as if propelled by dreams. A quick pounce and kill requires no dream. Dreams are the beacons that carry us far ahead into the hunt. Into the future, and into a marathon. We can visualise far ahead. We see our quarry even as it recedes over the hills and into the mists. It is still in our mind’s eye, still a target, and imagination becomes the main motivator. – Bernd Heinrich. 2002. Why We Run: A Natural History.
So it was in the city of Bujumbura itself that people would try to vent their fear and frustration and claustrophobia, by running, often in a group. […] [In] March, the country’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza had decreed that such a practice was to be banned. He feared it was being used as a cover for subversion. Indeed, some people are now spending a very long time in prison in part, at least, because of their group jogging. They’re members of the opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) Party – sentenced to jail terms ranging from five years to life. – Tim Franks. Burundi: Where Jogging is a Crime. BBC News 16 June 2014.
We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. […] Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act. […] [We] may be momentarily knocked off our feet – but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race. […] [We] can’t let something like this stop us. […] [We will] push on, to persevere, to not grow weary, to not get faint even when it hurts. Even when our heart aches, we summon the strength that maybe we didn’t even know we had, and we carry on; we finish the race. […] [We] know that somewhere around the bend, a stranger has a cup of water. Around the bend, somebody’s there to boost our spirits. On that toughest mile, just when we think that we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick us up if we fall. […] We carry on. We race. We strive. […] [The] world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever and to cheer even louder for the 118th Boston Marathon. Bet on it. – Barack Obama. Speech after Boston Marathon attack. 2013.
I picked up running because I was fed up of standing still. Since my childhood I ran and it liberated something [in] me. Like ice is being melted by the sun. So running brought light in my life. […] It empowered me like no other sport or thing could do. – Dutch Novelist and 2.30 marathon runner Abdelkader Benali. Interview. In: The Physical And Poetic Processes of Running: A Practice-Related Fine Art Discourse About A Playful Way To Transform Your World Today by Kai Syng Tan. 2013.
I love the sense of freedom and when the breathing is right I feel I could run forever. – Artist Jo Volley. Interview. In: The Physical And Poetic Processes of Running by Kai Syng Tan. 2013.
Artists and art people are typically negatively biased against running. And artists who do run, don’t do it as artists. But incognito. Running is somehow denigrating art. Running art does not appear [suitably] dignified. – Bruce Sterling. Critical Run: Beyond the Beyond. Wired. 2009.
I would never have believed that the New York marathon could move you to tears. It really is the end-of-the-world show. … They are all seeking death, the death by exhaustion that was the fate of the first Marathon man some two thousand years ago. … [T]here are too many of them and their message has lost all meaning: … [it is] a twilight message of a futile, superhuman effort. Collectively, they might rather seem to be bringing the message of a catastrophe for the human race. – Jean Beaudrillard. America. 1989, p.19.
Western civilization […] was born with the promenade. Walking is a sensitive, spiritual act. Jogging is management of the body. […] It has nothing to do with meditation. – Alain Finkielkraut. Cited in ‘More Rimbaud and Less Rambo, Critics Tell Sweaty Jogger Sarkozy’ in The Times by Charles Bremner. 2007.
Is jogging right-wing? – French newspaper Liberation. Cited in ‘More Rimbaud and Less Rambo, Critics Tell Sweaty Jogger Sarkozy’ in The Times by Charles Bremner. 2007.
[…] jogging and body-building as part of the New Age myth of the realization of the self’s “inner potentials.” – Slavoj Zizek. Will She Ever Die. 2004.
We are soft and nimble when living, but firm and rigid when dead. […] Thus the firm and rigid are the companions of death; the soft and nimble are the companions of life’ – Chinese philosopher and founder of Daoism Lao Zi. Daodejing. Translation by Kai Syng Tan with reference to Lao Tzu & Lau, ch.76.
Our nature consists in motion;complete rest is death. – 17th century mathematician/philosopher/physicist Blaise Pascal. Pensees. 1999, Thought 142.
I have often said that man’s unhappiness springs from one thing alone, his incapacity to stay quietly in one room. – Pascal. Pensees. 1999, Thought 132)
There is a metaphysical lawlessness about running. […] The runner follows no one’s law but his own. […] He despises authority and [agrees that] participation in government is fundamentally degrading. […] He further alienates those who see the crowd as carnival where everyone joins in, becoming one happy, amorphous glob. […] When he runs on the roads, he is making a comment about life. He is, in effect, criticising the life-style of everyone who sees him. […] No wonder those who live by the rules, or live by community, feel threatened by him. […]. – George Sheehan. Dr Sheehan on Running. 1975, pp.44-45.