Why would anyone want to run 24 hours straight on a track? The idea of running for such an extended period of time may seem absurd, but for a select few, 24-hour track races are an enticing challenge. While it may seem like a gruelling and unnecessary endeavour, there are various reasons why people choose to run in these races. In this blog, I’ll delve into some of the reasons why people like me choose to participate in 24-hour track races.
Running for such an extended period of time requires an immense amount of physical endurance. It’s not just about the distance, but also about the time spent on the track, which can test even the most seasoned runners. For those who crave a challenge and the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it, a 24-hour track race can be the perfect opportunity to push their limits.
In addition to the physical challenge, running for 24 hours straight also presents a mental challenge. The monotony of running around a track for hours on end can be mentally draining. Runners must find ways to keep themselves motivated and focused, which can be a test of mental fortitude.
While running is often viewed as an individual sport, 24-hour track races are actually quite communal events. Participants come from all over the world to compete, and many form lasting connections and friendships with their fellow runners. The shared experience of running for 24 hours straight creates a unique bond among runners. The camaraderie and support that develops during these races can be incredibly powerful and can motivate runners to keep pushing forward.
The sense of community is often amplified by the fact that these races are held on a track, which allows spectators and other runners to be in close proximity to one another. This creates a supportive and encouraging environment, with runners often cheering each other on and offering words of encouragement as they pass by.
It’s in that spirit of connectedness where runners get a chance to lift the vale on everyday life and get close to a deeper reality beyond self and separation.
Running for 24 hours straight requires a level of discipline, perseverance, and mental resilience that can provide a sense of accomplishment and personal growth that is hard to find in other areas of life.
In addition to the physical and mental challenges, 24-hour track races also offer a chance for runners to explore their inner selves. Spending so much time alone with one's thoughts can be a powerful experience, and many runners report feeling a sense of clarity and achieve deep insight during these races.
Some runners, myself included, use a 24-hour track race as a form of spiritual practice, using the time on the track to connect with nature, themselves, or a higher power. The simplicity of running around a track for 24 hours can be a deeply meditative experience, allowing runners to focus on their breath, their footsteps, and connect to the present moment.
Achievement and Recognition
For some runners, the motivation to run a 24-hour track race comes from a desire for achievement and recognition. Running for 24 hours straight is a significant accomplishment, and completing the race can be a source of pride and validation.
This can help people with self efficacy and healing. The journey to the start line alone can be a life changing experience.
The great paradox here is that the real gift of 24 hour track racing seems to be to use the experience as a way to overcome the need for recognition or validation at all both within the context of the race and beyond. In essence, it’s a journey away from the runners perceived limitations and separateness in a bid for self transcendence.