Races banning headphones end up being a blessing to runners in many ways. Besides listening to sounds of nature, it enables you with the ability to be in tune with other people and their conversations that you inadvertently overhear and learn a lot from.

This happened at the Big Sur event on Sunday. The hilly course intimidated several runners prompting them to pep talk one another to get to the finish line in one piece.

At the 5th mile, I overheard a father-son duo engaged in a deep conversation.

“How much more?” Panted the son.

“Easy there. Take a deep breath.” The Father encouraged.

“I just have to finish this one. I am already dead. “

“You can. Just keep at it. You are doing great.”

“Dad! My legs are dead.”

“Buck up John. You got this one”.

“Dad what if I don’t? “

“You will son. Just keep at it.”

“Dad! If I don’t do this, my friends will laugh at me. I mean I will be the laughing stock on social media. “

Just then we paused at the aid station.

“Listen son. You run for yourself. Got that? The minute you run for other people, you are finished. “

“Dad but..”

“No son. You are a lot happier when you run for yourself. It’s about you! Run because you want to, not for your friends or anybody. The day you do that, you will be a much better runner. “

I took off from the aid station to cruise on those rolling hills. When I reached the finish line, That old man’s message still rang in my ears- “Run for yourself, You will be a happier person”.

What a profound message! In need of the hour where pressure of social media prompts people to push beyond their limits which ultimately robs the joy of running.

Unfortunately couldn’t meet him later but thank him for his inadvertent golden words. However his words will echo in my journey as a runner and triathlete forever!