Sunday, January 12, 2014

Window runner

I call him the window-runner. 

He has been now living a life in exile since 2010.  It was a life that has been constructed on scaffolding - constructed with the promise of future, but a pain of guilt of the present.   The guilt was basically about life - the why's and why nots.  His ventures had carried a delusional promise, and his talent - a mirage of great potential.   I know him for more than 7 years now, since I first met him.  

He was one of the runners who was not a pioneers in the running circuit, in that city of high humidity, but certainly one of the prima-donnas of the second wave.  He was a regular in all the city runs, half.   He had also started to run longer distances especially in that Silicon Valley races. Life was good.
When he was part of the running groups, his life was better
or was it otherwise?
All that was fine, till an intercity move made him a lonely runner.  His castle-in-the-air and his talents were there, in front of him, like mirages, and he squandered the present.  His castle started crumbling, but his mind rebuilt it feverishly. 

I met him at the starting line of  SCMM 2012 half.  He said he never wanted to participate in the race and he was running for charity - without a timing chip.  He had now been running what he felt as 'guilt runs' - an anti-dote for his way of life.  'The guilt runs' in his own words, 'were either to cry my heart out, or cursing the world, pour out my failure on the road, as the feet stepped on them and crushed them.  That was one way of keeping the sanity of my split mind'.   But he hid from the pack.  He had become a loner in those two years since his move. 

'Another way I keep myself motivated is being around in the runner circuit, in social media.  There, people always see me for what I am, but never intrusive.   There were many queries if I was running this race or that, but I never replied; and naturally, the queries died down. But I am never far away.'
He started running the distance on race days alone,
but got vicarious participation through social media

'I can always see my friends - posting registrations, pictures of collection of bibs, race day pictures, and the medals and certificates.  I feel it, as I have, vicariously.  Then I go for my guilt runs.  I slowly started feeling that there were runners besides me.  I imagine that I was running those races - and I would run an equal distance, but alone, in my neighborhood on race day'.

'I am now, and here, at the starting line, by a quirk of fate; somebody had a charity bib, and he said you just run and yesterday got my bib.  It was like somebody giving money and asking me to shop;  I could not refuse.  So here I am!'.  And off, he disappeared into the crowd of running feet. 

I could not meet him after that.  I sent him a friend request on facebook.  He accepted almost immediately.  I don't see his posts.  And I don't think he is still racing in any of the races.  May be he is running those lonely runs on race days - or 'window-running'.

- The Road Runner