Fat Dog 120

For a number of years I have had this urge to run—this urge to feel freedom and a oneness with my soul. This insatiable urge to go running in the mountains and to feel new levels of fitness.  Humans have unique physiological advantages that allow us to run incredibly far.  In a more primal timewe used these abilities daily to get our food and to run from predators.  Since we have evolved to a safer, easier way of living that ability to run far has been lost by so many.   However, there are a select few who are in-tuned with their inner running being, and these people exist in a world called ultra-running.  

I first heard of ultra-running through an episode of The Nature of Things called The Perfect Runner that aired on CBC.  The film followed runners—among other stories—who attempted to run 125Km in under twenty-four hours in the Canadian Rockies.  I saw this and knew I had to experience this at some point in my life.  So 2017 is my year to run.  I have trepidatiously registered for the gruelling Fat Dog 120, which is a 120 mile—that’s 193 kilometres—point to point race from Keremeos to Manning Park in beautiful British Columbia.  The course boasts a whopping 8673 metres of elevation gain—a scant 175 metres less than Everest, 8848 metres.  Outside Online puts Fat Dog 120 as one of the nine hardest ultra-marathons on the planet!  The course record is just over twenty-five hours, with the cutoff being forty-eight hours.  So why on earth am I entered in a 120 mile suffer feast?  

Spirituality.  I want to see if my spirit is capable of conquering this challenge. I want to know when there is nothing, left will I keep going?  I want to know how I will find a way through when I want to quit.  I want to know what I will do when my body hurts and is begging me to stop.  I am sure you have heard or seen quotes by accomplished athletes who claim that sport is largely mental and not physical.  Is this true?  I am sure it is, but I want to discover it for myself.   Yes this will be a physical challenge, however I believe that spiritually it will be much more challenging and rewarding.  

This race is also running parallel—pardon the pun—to my life as I try to earn a living doing what I love.  Being self-employed has not been easy; it has been extremely trying at times and I have wanted to quit more times than I care to count.  But I am still here, and I am still moving forward.  Perhaps by testing my spiritual limit through ultra-running I can transfer that limit to other areas of my life.  

The odds are against me, but that has never stopped me from taking a leap of faith.  If I can remember why I am doing this race when things get tough then I cannot fail, even if I fail to make it to the finishing line.  If I can remember that my primary goal is to bring my soul to the surface then I will succeed regardless of the outcome.  I am reminded by the words of Erin Hanson who said, “There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky and you ask ‘What if I fall?’  Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”   I am ready to leap!

Jason ManningComment