I’ve been listening to Sapiens during my long runs recently.
A pervasive theme is that although Sapiens may have possessed more intelligence than their Neanderthal counterparts, it was our ability to effectively function as a community that sealed our pervasiveness as humans. Turns out, our DNA wires the majority of us to prefer groups rather than live in solitude. Thus, we excel at building and maintaining relationships – and those of us that make it a priority, find inevitable success and happiness in life.
This underpins the good feelings we experience when being part of a community. It’s the feeling of belonging that gives us self worth and satisfaction. So many of us have discovered ultrarunning fulfills a desire to belong, accomplish and contribute. And it’s extremely important we do contribute from time to time to assure our community persists.
Being an ultrarunner rather than doing ultrarunning includes contributing time and effort towards our sport and greater community. We’ve all benefited from a volunteer at an event; who showed us kindness serving us soup and encouragement at an aid station when we were feeling low, who tirelessly marked our course and then swept it clean, who paced us along our first 50 miler, who labored over the trail, removing trees and debris, who changed our sweaty socks and cleaned our gnarly and disgusting feet.
Volunteering in our ultrarunning community is fundamental to belonging. It not only shows you care, it elevates your spirits, makes you feel good. And the best way to become a better volunteer is by doing.
Let’s all make volunteering our #1 priority as we make our ultrarunning plans for 2019 and add days where we give back alongside those races where we take.