Thursday, 24 February 2011

Utility Running,Rodney Mullen,Success is Elusive

A utility bike is a bicycle designed for practical transportation,as opposed to bicycles which are primarily designed for recreation and competition,such as touring bikes,racing bikes and mountain bikes.The majority of these bikes are found in the developing world.They are the most common form of bicycle globally.

Over the last few weeks my interest has been sparked in what I term 'Utility Running.'The Human Body,in common with a utility bike,is built for practical transportation.So why don't we use it that way?One of the things I enjoyed on my recent trip to Gran Canaria was the daily morning run to the nearest shop to buy food.Sometimes this involved a round trip of up to 20 kms.I had no other form of transport.I had no bike and there were no buses,so if I wanted to eat I had the choice of either walking or running,and running was faster.As I have previously mentioned, this action felt almost primal.Since returning to the UK,I have decided to keep this up.I've been based, temporarily, about 5 miles away from my home in Skegness,but have had to make the journey there and back,for one reason or another,almost daily.This has been carried out by running.If I need to change clothes/pick up groceries etc,I take a backpack.The quality of the runs,in terms of effort and speed,may be somewhat lacking,but this is trumped by the feeling that the running is useful.It alleviates the need for a car,bike or a bus,and,of course,is free.

Whats all this to do with Rodney Mullen?I'd heard his name,having seen it on my sons Tony Hawks computer games,but that was the extent of my knowledge.Inexplicably I ended up this afternoon watching the above interview.Rodney's current views on skateboarding echo my current views on running.He was a childhood prodigy,world champion and influential innovator,but the pressures of expectation enslaved him and ruined his enjoyment of the sport.He has now found peace and enjoys skateboarding for the intrinsic pleasures he derives from it.Maybe this is a lesson for us all-to run because it gives us pleasure and is useful,and realize that,surely,these should be runnings prime objectives,rather than competition,kudos,fame and fortune.

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