Friday, November 16, 2012

 Have you considered running around the world lately? Dean Karnazes' next feature on the running schedule menu is a global adventure. He wants to run a marathon in every country in the world in a single year. Being the FlagRunners, we knew we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to hear Dean speak. Unexpected was his straightforward approach, his appreciation for all runners and running. He means it in the most humble way when he says, "Ask yourself, how far are you going today?" It's the wonder of the adventure, the drive that pulls the shoes on and then the spirit that takes you away on your personal adventure. And whatever that adventure is, the message is clear. "Keep moving."

We got a chance to see Dean because he has written a new book about... you guessed it... running. In fact it is called Run! And as FlagRunners, we are particularly interested in running. What is to be sure, Run! will be as entertaining and enlightening as his first book, Ultra Marathon Man.

Dean's running is experiential, and in his grounded great big heart way, he has a personal dream that you share that experience with him. It is a human approach, uplifted and always inclusive. A great example of this would be his project to help promote awareness for children's obesity by running across the country to the studio of LIVE! with Regis and Kelly. It's like, 'not about me, it's us, everyone, we all run in our hearts and dream of running from town to town, and state to state... Why not across continents and even the world? It's certainly a way to fly the flag and you know the FlagRunners from Flag Desk, "We just like people who fly flags." Tomorrow we're putting up the Greek flag in support of his passion, and when Dean runs from country to country the runners in our community will know what country Dean is running his marathon for by the flags we are flying.

Special thanks to The Runners Edge, Lad and Lassie of Wilmette, IL, & North Face for this enlightening opportunity to attend and meet a truly humble superhuman. A man supporting the belief in choosing to live, the possibility that after turning in the white collar job for the running shoes he finds life again, like the kindergartner that would rather run home and save his mom the trouble of picking him up.

The Greek Orthodox have a prayer called The Jesus Prayer. We were told about it one day while helping a Monastery put up a flagpole. It dates back a few thousand years and is the essence of interior prayer; dialogue with the nature that has created us. It is only seven words.
It is often repeated continually as a part of personal ascetic practice, its use being an integral part of the eremitic tradition of prayer known as Hesychasm (Greek: ἡσυχάζω, hesychazo, "to keep stillness").

This continual repetition reminded us of the continual repetition of the runner. You've probably heard the old adage, "How did I run the marathon?... One step at a time." Dean inspired us to be FlagRunners by showing us there is a way to do what we are passionate about. Our message to Dean would be this. "Use these seven words as seven paces on your world marathon tour and receive the words from your heart as your Greek heritage continues to practice... Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me."