While it is possible to run trails along – and while I’m certain that many people run trails alone all the time – and even do so “successfully” I’m sure – the two times that I’ve been trail running have taught me a very important lessons: There are aspects of trail running that make it very dangerous to attempt to do alone.
In previous posts, I’ve already mentioned the dangers associated with rocks and roots and leaves, and, of course, there are other dangers as well. If you step on a rock or root or slip down a bank on a trail… several miles out in the woods… far away from “civilization”… the result could be disastrous, even for a fairly minor injury.
The first time I went trail running, the people that I ran with taught me the importance of running together. In fact, the “stronger” runners often asked if the pace was too fast, if we needed to slow down, if we needed to rest… As one of them said, “We’re running together. If someone needs to slow down, we all slow down.”
Three people fell on that first 7 mile run. Thank God that none of the three people who fell were injured. But, at each point, the group of runners stopped to check on the one who fell and to help him or her back up. In each case, after brushing him/herself off, the person was able to continue running down the trail.
The next week, when I went trail running again, something a little different happened. Again, a couple of people fell. But, at one point, when one of our friends fell, she had trouble with her knee when she stood back up. She told us that her knee had been injured previously and that the trail was causing her problems again. She did not think she could run, so we all walked with her.
Let me repeat that: One of our group could not run down the trail any longer, so we all walked together.
After walking for a few minutes, our friend wanted to try to run again. She ran for a while, but on a steep uphill climb her knee caused her problems again. So, we walked the rest of the trail.
There were several other people in that group. We could have left the injured runner behind, and the rest of us could have finished a run much more quickly. But, this was not acceptable to us. We were running this trail together – whatever pace that means, even if it means walking.
I think life is most like trail running in this aspect. God brings people into our lives, and we are all in this together. Just as trail runners should never leave an injured member of their party behind, we should never leave an “injured” neighbor behind either. Instead, we must learn to “walk” or “run” together in life as necessary.
Spiritual Lessons from Trail Running
- Introduction: Spiritual Lessons from Trail Running
- Rocks and Roots and Leaves
- Leading from the front; leading from behind
- It’s a long, hard road, but we’re running it together
- Meeting other people on the journey
- The Destination, the Journey, and Everything In Between
- Look at your feet; look at the path; look further ahead