What makes a run an epic? There can be no doubt that epic is in the mind of the beholder. For any runner, some runs will be epic whilst some will be ordinary. With these thoughts in mind, here is a list of attributes that may make a run into an epic run.
- It has to be long. Certainly there have been some great 100-meter races, run by some great runners. Maybe you can call some of these runs epic. But I can’t. In my mind, the run has to go on for some length to be epic. Of course distance is relative.
- It has to be difficult. Of course as we age, more and more regular runs begin to become difficult ones. Like distance, general level of difficulty will always be a relative thing.
- It has to be unique in some way. Maybe a new distance, a new time, or simply a challenge that’s new in some way. As with distance and difficulty, eve uniqueness is relative.
- It has to be storied. This is the very definition of epic, “a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation.” You guessed it: even story-ness is relative.
There you have it. If a run is long enough, difficult enough, unique enough, then of course there will be stories about it. Therefore, of course, number four is the most important. Did I also mention that the items in the list are relative? What’s epic for me may not be for you, and vice versa.
Having said all this, my Rock the Ridge 50-Mile run was epic almost any way you slice it. I’m sure there are runners out there for whom RTR would only have been a walk in the woods. But for most of us, it would probably be nearly as epic as it gets.
It does get a bit more problematic with everyday runs. Some of my runs in Europe were pretty darn cool. Up and down along the Danube, two loops around Lake Bled; those were epic, or nearly so. But then there’s everyday runs at home.
RTR was only a bit over a month ago. I anticipated easing up afterwards, especially with the two weeks of travel that followed; I simply didn’t expect to run much at all in Europe, much less do any runs of the epic variety.
But it was worse than that. I got sick during the trip. It was a sinus infection that got progressively worse the longer we (Debbie had it too) stayed. Then it got worse still after I arrived home. After a dose of antibiotics, and some pain management for my continuing Achilles Tendonitis problem, I’m finally back to running again.
But I lost a lot of fitness. A real lot. Now a ten-mile run, something that as little as a month and a half ago was a something I at for breakfast, might be epic. In fact, yesterday’s ten – the usual park bike-trail variety of a run, could be considered epic: it was long (relatively so), difficult (much more than it should have been), unique (it had been over a month and a half) and (now) storied.
Epic is as epic does.