Is Running Nostalgic?

I’m sitting here listening to a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician.  He sprinkles historical references into his set for fluid transitions.  The stories explain how songs were written, recorded or performed:  The Everly Bros, Stephen Stills, Jimi Hendrix, the Bay in 1976, etc. 

I can picture myself in the audience in 1967 when Jimi Hendrix starts playing his new stuff at the Monterrey Pop Festival.  Jimi is 45 years gone, yet his music lives on.  Listeners both young and old have nostalgic memories connected to his music.

I started thinking (always dangerous), does this carry over to running? Do we have moments such as this? Do we have running legends who inspire us towards greatness or a greater version of ourselves? Can you easily recall a great run from your past? If you share your stories does it impact others?

Is the art of running able to carry expression across time and space akin to music? I remember being inspired by Carl Lewis in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.  I can recall the feeling of running my first high school cross country meet.  I remember the feeling of invincibility after running a sub-18 5k.  I am aware of my personal record races.

I don’t often share running stories with others, nor do I go down memory-lane on a regular basis – I don’t have a favorites playlist of races.  While my experiences are important to me, I doubt whether my nostalgia evokes  similar emotional reactions in others. 

Post-race, runners often enjoy swapping race stories whether personal triumphs or frustrations.  But community reflection tends to be short-lived, soon after a race runners transition to talking about the next race (where/when/distance). 

Maybe runners tend to look forward, maybe I have a bad memory, maybe I really enjoy music, maybe running is more individualistic.


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