Artistry. As a musician, that’s what I see with running. From the first time I saw the rhythm and coolness of the best east African runners, I knew running had a lot to offer for me if I worked at it. The time I watched Wilson Kipsang clock 2:03:23 in Berlin and when I watched Eliud Kipchoge clock 2:04 with his insoles flapping out of his shoes (now he’s at 2:03:04)—that strong carriage and swiftness, yet that relaxed turnover as if someone plugged a metronome into the sound system. That’s what excites me about running. Some might talk about the science, others might talk about obtaining fitness; I see running as a great art form. The marathon is like a musical suite for me in three forms: the introduction, the middle, then the fireworks for the finale at the last 10 kilometers.
I like the marathon because in order to run a good ethical one, you can’t fake the process like many people tend to do with most stuff today. Hype and sponsorship won’t guarantee finishing a race. It reminds me of when I used to read old Miles Davis interviews. My favorites were the Downbeat blindfold tests, where the interviewer would play recordings for a musician and then they would give their commentary. It didn’t matter if Miles liked the musicians individually or if these were some of the greatest musicians of all time. If the record company paired a group of musicians that didn’t compliment each other, he would definitely let you know what he thought. True artistry takes time to develop and it doesn’t happen by accident. You simply don’t achieve it by only showing up. It takes a really long time to achieve.
That process for developing a skill at such a high level is one I respect because it takes a lot of sacrifice in order to obtain it and it needs to be practiced consistently. In music, you have to be willing to challenge what you know and use your imagination to develop your own sound. In training, you have to change your exercises up in order to achieve a new level in fitness. Music is very much a communal sport just like running a marathon. If you go at it by yourself, it will not turn out so well. The challenge and camaraderie that the event offers keeps me coming back. At a time when everything is in decadence, the process of training is one of the antidotes. If you can run a marathon the sky isn’t a limit, only a springboard to meet your full potential.
My second marathon is May 1st at The Colorado Marathon in Fort Collins. All told, this is seven months of gradual and consistent training, with good personal bests in smaller races. The key to this marathon is all about exercising patience by not racing too fast from the start. It’s similar to improvising a solo in which you continually build until you’ve reached the end. If you start doing too much, you have no room to go and end up plummeting. I’m excited for the race and I’m looking forward to continuing my pursuit with running and music.