The absurdity of running

I’ve clocked 80.76km so far in runs this month. That’s almost 80.76km more than what I ran last month.

The reason, I tell myself, that I have run so much is because there’s quite a bit of a competition in the office. We’ve signed up for a marathon; we’re tracking our runs; and being competitive bastards we all want to outdo each other.

But, hand-on-heart, the real reason I run is… just because.


“Tell me, what is that hole for?” I ask the Colonel.

“Nothing at all,” he says, guiding a spoonful of soup to his mouth. “They dig for the sake of digging. So in that sense, it is a very pure hole.”

“I don’t understand.”

“It is simple enough. They dig their hole because they want to dig. Nothing more or less.”

I think about the pure hole and all it might mean.

“They dig holes from time to time,” the Colonel explains. “It is probably for them what chess is for me. It has no special meaning, does not transport them anywhere. All of us dig at our own pure holes. We have nothing to achieve by our activities, nowhere to get to. Is there not something marvellous about this? We hurt no one and no one gets hurt. No victory, no defeat.”

Above taken from the wonderful book Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, incidentally by an author who runs.


As an aside, I’d always been one who sought meaning in things (well, like pretty much 99% of the rest of the world).

But of late I’ve been doing some readings on evolution; physics; cosmology; and the nature of our mind, and these have given me… how do I put it… a different perspective on life.

A perspective devoid of meaning.

But don’t get me wrong, it’s not in a bad way; but not in a good way either.

It just is.

And you know what? This acceptance of life’s meaninglessness has made me far more accepting of running’s meaninglessness, giving myself permission to embrace the, let’s face it, absurd act of running.

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