With every vehicle that I see on the streets, it’s becoming harder and harder to breathe and less and less humanly possible to keep the oxygen breathable.

My name is David and I remember I started running right after I finished high school, around 10 years ago, just to lose some weight. I also remember that I used to run on the sidewalk (I still do sometimes). Back then, it was acceptable compared to now, where the sidewalk has been conquered by cars, and the closer you are to the streets, the stronger the smell of gas and emissions is.

If you’re not an avid runner, you won’t feel it. You won’t feel the struggle and the effort that your lungs have to make in order to filter the toxic air. You won’t feel the battle that your body is having for you so you can stay alive.

This is why I decided to join a cause I believe in and raise funds to help an organization whose main purpose is to replant trees and grow forests in over 100 communities in the southern part of Romania.

To express my desire to help, on 12th September I’ll be running 53 KM at Transmarathon 2021, and with your help, I’ll raise a small amount of money that will go directly to replanting trees for better and breathable oxygen.

Join me and help the cause with a donation: https://padureacopiilor.galantom.ro/fundraising_pages/view?id=20107&organization_subdomain=padureacopiilor&lang=en

I first started running somewhere around 2008 to lose weight

I remember that when I first started running, I did it because I wanted to lose some weight. I was 17 years old.

In high school, I was never good at sports. I enjoyed playing basketball a little but that was all.

One time, a friend told me he started running in the neighborhood and after he insisted a bit, I also joined him for short runs. I remember I never ran more than 2 kilometers at that time and I was trying to imagine how it would be to run 5 KM or more.

Later, in 2012, the same friend started training for a half-marathon and finished it. So he decided to keep going and the next year he started training for a marathon. While we were outside, one discussion went to another and we made a bet that I can train and finish the marathon, having to run 5 KM the next day as my first day of the training schedule.

The next day I went for a run but I only managed to run 2.6 KM. While I lost the bet, I kept training for the marathon and 4 months and a half later, I finished the marathon in 5 hours and 36 minutes out of 6 hours available.

Fast forward, in 2014, I trained for a half-marathon but I don’t remember how much time it took to finish it. And then, the year after that, I trained for a 64 KM ultra-marathon and I finished it in 11 hours and 3 minutes, out of 11 hours available.

  • 42 KM Marathon in 2013
  • 21 KM Half-Marathon in 2014
  • 64 KM Ultra-Marathon in 2015

And then I stopped joining running competitions, but I didn’t stop running. I mean, I took breaks for weeks or months, but I kept running every year.

One time I set myself the challenge to run every day, for 30 days, with different distances every week. It went like this:

  • Days 1-7: 3 KM per day
  • Days 8-14: 5 KM per day
  • Days 15-21: 7 KM per day
  • Days 22-28: 9 KM per day
  • Days 29 and 30: 11 KM per day

I remember running a bit over 200 KM that month and I was really happy about it.

Also, for 2017, I set myself a bunch of challenges, and two of them included running:

  • The first one, in January, I had to do 3-minute cold showers and 3 KM of running every day, for 30 days;
  • The second one, in February, I had to run 10 KM every day, for 30 days.

While I failed the second month, I had a new record: 40 consecutive days of running.

If you want to read more about that, check a book I wrote, called The Power of 30-day Challenges.

And now, after many years, I decided to enroll myself again. It’s the same route as it was with the ultra-marathon in 2015, but the distance is a bit shorter. Actually, 53 KM is the longest distance available this year. If there was available an 80 KM competition on the same route, I would have chosen it.

Why do I run?

Running and dancing are the only two ways I can keep my body active. Everything else bores me. That’s what I discovered in the last 5 years or more.

I tried to go to the gym, but it doesn’t work.

At the same time, I love running because the further you can run, the more things you’re going to see. I love looking at things and I love landscapes. And yes, maybe you can do this with a car, but there’s a different feeling when you’re able to run 20 KM, get out of town, and see your town from afar.

On the other hand, being able to help others through running made me love this activity even more. I’ve done fundraising before and, even though the raised amount of money is not big, every small amount counts.

This is the 3rd time I’m raising money through running and we’ve already raised a third of the needed amount. Get yourself involved and donate even something as small as 5 euros.

And finally, for me, running is also about status. Knowing that not many people are able to run and finish an ultra-marathon, makes me feel good about myself.

Here are some statistics from a few years ago:

  • In this case, the U.S. is again the only source of hard statistics. In their 2015 U.S. Marathon report, Running USA reported that 509 000 runners completed a marathon in the U.S. in 2015, significantly less than the record 550 600 of 2014.
  • The 509 000 marathon runners in the U.S. represent about 0.15% of the total U.S. population. While in Germany, it is reported that there are about 110 000 marathon runners, 0.14% of the population.
  • The popularity of marathons in the U.S. has grown by 13.92% from 2009 to 2014, while only growing by 10.3% in Europe. The fastest-growing marathon region in the world is Asia, with marathons growing 92.43% in popularity from 2009 to 2014, while Chinese participation in marathons has increased 259.47% over the same period.
  • Globally there are between 2 500 and 4 000 marathons each year with up to 11 million participants. (estimated)
  • Between 52% and 55% of marathon entrants are first-time marathon runners. (estimated)

When I look at all these numbers, it makes me feel great because I’m part of a community that has a high standard (you have to run 42 KM to be part of it). It gets even better if you take into consideration the ultra-marathon side of the business.

When’s the last time you ran?

Whenever I’m thinking about running and the positive habit behind this activity, I always picture someone who I used to see every week on the sidewalk, in the evening, running.

A few years ago, I saw this person, overweight, running on the sidewalk. It was summer, around 8 PM. After seeing him a few times, I went to him and asked him how long did he run, what distance, and why.

He told me that he was running around 5 kilometers and he wasn’t doing it for too long, but his purpose was to lose weight.

In the last years, I saw this person a few times and every time I saw him, he was running.

A few weeks ago, is the last time I noticed him. Lost most of the extra weight and he was thinner than me.

I guess, consistency really matters…

So, when’s the last time you ran?

With love and optimism,
David

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