Not too long ago I read the story of Mark Convert, a runner from California who had run every day for the past 45 years. It is an incredible feat, especially when you consider all that can happen over that length of time: bad weather, sickness, injuries, travel, births, deaths. To run each and every day takes a high level of commitment and love for the sport that transcends all things which can derail you along the way. To Mark, I say congratulations and well done. You are an inspiration to runners and non-runners alike.
There have been times in my life where I have attempted run streaks. I think to myself, “Wow, it sure would be great to be able to say I have been running every day for X number of years.” I have run many 5Ks, half marathons, and even a marathon, but to have a run streak under my belt would put me in a league of a select few runners. I could stand tall and wear my accomplishment with pride. I could be one of the few, the proud, the committed. I would be a streaker.
That is pretty much where the story ends. It gets me out the door that first day. It sometimes pushes me through a week. I would have to say, however, that the longest streak of running I have ever had would likely be under two weeks. Suddenly and without warning, the thought of being a streaker no longer matters. The allure of the title quickly fades as other, more immediate feelings fill the void. I am too hungry. I am too tired. My knee hurts. It is too cold. It is too hot. It is raining or too windy. I would rather just sit here and do nothing.
So why don’t I streak? Given the above explanation you would think it is because my weaknesses overtake me and I give in to my inner slacker. While this may partly be true, it is ultimately a much more profound reason: I want to enjoy running.
I love running. It is my escapism. It refreshes me. It challenges me. It helps me push my limits to see how far I can go. It gives me a high that lasts for hours. It gives me a sense of self, which sometimes gets lost as a parent. It is the one thing in my life that has brought me consistent joy since I began running over 18 years ago.
However, a commitment to becoming a streaker means that I have to run. No matter what else is going on in my life, no matter how much I have on my plate, I would have to lace up each and every day to squeeze in a run. When that happens, running is no longer an escapism. Running, at that point, has become a responsibility. It becomes one more thing I have to add to my list of things I have to do. Once that happens, once it becomes something I have to do, it becomes something I no longer enjoy doing. It may even become something I no longer want to do at all.
While streaking works for an elite few, it is simply not for me. I enjoy running too much to ruin it through requirement. So streak on, streakers. I will see you out there…but maybe not until tomorrow.
What is the longest running streak you have ever completed? Leave it in the comments below!