“Commit to nothing and be distracted by everything” – Tendai Monks

 

January 29th  2017  Donald Trump is causing mayhem only 9 days after his inauguration,  Roger Federer beat  Rafal Nadal in the Australian tennis open enroute to his 18th grand slam title, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British Prime Minister Theresa May held talks at Government Buildings on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union and the impact on Anglo-Irish relations…….. Borris lies in wait. But most importantly Barry Kehoe embarked on his streak. The name “streaker” is coupled with nudity. Now whilst I’m sure  there is something liberating about running around and letting it all hang out with the  hair blowing in the wind, I’m too old to let my dangly bits bounce around in public. But thankfully there’s another streaking challenge that has nothing to do with being starkers: a run streak . It demands that you commit to  running at least one mile every day for a set period of time: some choose weeks or months, others a year or even indefinitely.

I decided to try a run streak. I ran for a week then another and eventually a month. Months passed and it was easy to fit a daily run into my routine, there was no internal argument – will I run today or not?  It became a “When” not “If”.  Running every day required no motivation at all  so I decided on a year…… and then I just kept going and have now passed a 1000 days of running without a day off. I’ve ran sick, sore, tired, still  drunk, hungover, after before and during arguments. We’ve had one of the best summers, the snow of the  beast from the east and storm Ophelia have. I’ve been  lucky to run in seven different countries, more than twenty counties, with umpteen  different people and groups. I know exactly how far one mile is from our home, in any direction.

Maybe for me it’s turned into a bit of a pilgrimage, a journey into the unknown searching for some meaning. The monks of Mount Hiei, Japan, believe that true enlightenment can be realised only through sacrifice and self-denial. Their route to this enlightenment is  a physical challenge “Kaihogyo” – a 1000 day running pilgrimage completing distances of up to eighty four kilometres. This is the reason they are called the “Marathon  Monks”. After day 101 if the monk chooses to continue, there is no withdrawal, they must either complete the Kaihogyo or end their own lives. It is understandably rare that a monk attempts the 1000 day challenge, and even rarer that it is successfully completed. Reportedly,  in the last 130 years only 46 men have managed it.

Thankfully my running pilgrimage of sorts  is much less extreme. To an outsider, there’s nothing particularly special about  it. It’s only in its infancy compared to the running streaks of fellow Kildare runners Tom and Mairead Blennerhassett,  who’ve  both run for over 7 years straight or  the famous British runner Ron Hills retired streak of 52 years and 39 days. To be clear, I’m not a better runner –  I’m still slow. Young businessman sitting thinking dreaming about success profit development under thought bubble cloud business finance elementsI haven’t had any profound realisation or moments of illumination, but there has been a constant, a commitment in a world of persistent distraction. Even the Marathon Monks suggest that this elusive enlightenment isn’t a specific point that you arrive at euphoric bliss, its something that gives you a goal and pushes you every day, and for some that means going for a run for just one more day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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