I came across this topic in one of the running forums I'm visiting lately and asked myself the same question. Why do I want to join races? What motivates me to run? Each runner has its own personal reason why they run: health issues, camaraderie, to beat personal record and the list goes on and on.
And I just want to quote what Self-coached Runner said:
"A race is the validation of all your training. Why train if there is no race to run to? Why do intervals, or long runs?
A race brings the best or the worst in us. It is a test of our character, our will. It reveals and it should reveal the real "us," the real "me."
Races also teaches many lessons.
When you are tired and about to give up, when you see others huffing and puffing like you do and not give up, it teaches you not to give up too!
And when you overtake others, espeicially that last 100m, it teaches you that the lesson that you are never the last in a race.
When somebody pippes you or overtake you, it teaches you that you are also not the fastest.
And it teaches you that you can be faster.
Races are also building blocks of future improvements, of future races. You race a 5k now, so you can race a 10k later. A 10k later, to race a 15-16k down the road. That 15-16k becomes a 20-21k. And later on, it is a marathon. When you think about it in those terms, you realize that regardless of age, sex, or what has given you, you are capable of doing very remarkable things if you set your mind to it. And you prepare for it. Preparation means discipline. And only discipline and proper training can deliver you the results.
Races also teaches you to be humble. You learn to respect the distance. You learn to be patient. You learn to wait. And yet you also learn to be a tiger, to risk it all when the time comes.
And you learn from races that you cannot use only your heart to finish a race. You have to use your brains. You have to use both heart and brain to do well. You can't do well with one lording it over the other. You can't just shout to the heaven's that you will finish 42k. No courage or determination can make you cover that distance if you don't think and prepare for it.
Races, is not really about medals, trophies, the girls, or the guys, or the artista we might see. It's about memories. It's about excelling and being better than what you thought you were. Races should bring out the best in us. It should make us reflect, and see the hero in ourselves, even as we see the heroes in others. Races should bring out our true character. When the pain is great and unbearable, it shows us which way we will go and what we will choose.
Yes, races are not just about making friends, and winning medals, and getting t-shirts, and loot bags. Above anything else, races, should really reveal the real you."
Very inspiring, indeed :) I will always keep that in mind sir. Thanks for this!