Running is great for the development of health, fitness, and quality of life, but how do we get the message across to our friends and acquaintances who would benefit from joining in with us? How we promote ourselves and how we can encourage others to join us in our quest for fitness is something that has been on my mind for many years. I wrote the following story for the August 2004 Vetrunner; after adapting it from an e-book, "Provocations", by Danish author Søren Kierkegaard.
Every time wild geese go on their amazing migratory journey, they fly along, not too far above ground, and call out to any geese on the ground to join them in their flight.
When the flight of the wild geese is heard in the air and there are tame geese down on the ground, the tame geese are instantly aware of it and to a certain degree understand what it means. Some of them even start to run along, beating their wings, crying out in awkward, confused disorder – but they are just mimicking the flying birds, and they never lift off.
There was once a wild goose. In the autumn, about the time for migration, who became aware of some tame geese. The wild goose thought it a shame to fly away from them, and hoped to win them over so that they would decide to go along with him on the flight. He tried to entice them to rise a little higher and then again a little higher, that they might, if possible, accompany him in the flight, saved from the wretched, mediocre life of waddling around on the earth as respectable, tame geese.
At first, the tame geese thought it very entertaining and liked the wild goose. But soon they became tired of him, and drove him away with sharp words, censuring him as a visionary fool devoid of experience and wisdom.
In a certain sense there was something admirable about what the wild goose wanted. Nevertheless, it was a mistake, for a tame goose never becomes a wild goose, but a wild goose can certainly become a tame goose. If what the wild goose tried to do is to be commended in any way, it must above all watch out for one thing – that he himself become like the tame geese. As soon as he notices that the tame geese have any kind of power over him, then away, away in migratory flight.
This could be a metaphor for our sport, albeit not an exact one. True, an athlete who is fit and healthy and full of life is as different from the ordinary person as the wild goose is from the tame goose. However, for us there is always the hope that a tame goose might become a wild goose. When we wild geese call out to the tame geese, some will be able to lift off and join us. But some will argue that we are silly and undignified and too old to be an athlete “at your time of life”. Don’t listen! You know what to tell them. You are a wild goose and you are proud of it. Resist the temptation to sink back into “wretched mediocrity”!
Now you know where the idea of “the speedygeese” training group originated.
Fly goose fly!