I wrote about this article and how it impacted me on my other blog, here. Many thanks to Steve of Phedippidations for guiding me to look into this more. It is difficult for me to believe that one could be a long distance runner and not be a bit of a philosopher. It seems to me the two things go hand in hand. Running for hours without spending time thinking about God, the nature of man, or some other deep thought would make the whole exercise without meaning or purpose.
To me it is diametrically opposed to, yet accomplishes the same thing as, Zen sitting. In Zen you sit quietly, without moving, until you forget there is body there and you are just focused thought. While running, once you get beyond a certain fitness level and can run for long periods, you find a similar place. The body is kept busy with running, but it becomes something you no longer have to actively think about, you just do it. While the body is busy running, the mind is free to contemplate things.
Going to this quiet place is one of my most treasured parts of my day. For me, it makes running worth doing.