Came across a fascinating piece in this week's NEW YORK TIMES about ultra-distance runner Kilian Jornet. His feats of athleticism – running hundreds of miles at a time in mountainous terrain – are a testament to the machine that is the human body.
What's equally fascinating, though, is the spirit with which he accomplishes these challenges. While most of his peers are focused on finishing an event in the fastest time possible, Jornet is observing and admiring the natural beauty of the landscape through which he's running – finishing first, which he often does, is merely a side benefit.
From the article:
What are you running after? I asked Jornet. Having beaten men, do you now want to challenge the mountains? He gently corrected me. You don’t beat the mountains. You go when they permit, he said. The speed records and “firsts” aren’t important except for motivation, he insisted. Then he mentioned the Uruguayan writer Eduardo Hughes Galeano, who once likened the ideal of Utopia to the horizon — goals that retreat even as we chase them. “The important thing is not to catch something,” said Jornet, "What matters in life is the pursuit, and everything we learn along the way. “The important thing,” he said, “is moving.”