He who strides cannot maintain the pace: hill running with NVA’s Speed of light.

Does the Tao Te Ching talk about endurance running when it states “He who strides cannot maintain the pace”? Angus Farqhuar’s orientation talk for runners at the start of NVA’s Speed of light certainly did, and his assertion that most of the running would be at a medium walking pace proved true. What we didn’t see from the tent was the enormity of the hill, nor how steep some of the sections were. But in the end, the red route never went straight up the hill on the steepest paths, the training paid off, the weather was fine and everyone in the group buzzed across the hill.

Tents from Haggis Knowe

Tents from Haggis Knowe

Dots of light on the hill

Dots of light on the hill

Running along the A route along the top of the crags was fun, but the most spectacular parts were when all the groups converged to one of the hubs. Towards the end, the red group were the furthest (stage) left and we got a great view of the constellation: when the lights suits went off and every runner turned into a twinkling light.

In a hub

In a hub

Stephen, the hill runner

Stephen, the hill runner

Me, at the end of the night

Me, at the end of the night

Coming back to the tents

Coming back to the tents

Supported by our two run leaders, the hour and a half went quickly. Then back to the tents and a cycle home through the rain.

Here’s the full stanza, just for completeness. We did make a show and, even if we didn’t become enlightened, at least we were lit up.

He who stands on tiptoe is not steady.
He who strides cannot maintain the pace.
He who makes a show is not enlightened.
He who is self-righteous is not respected.
He who boasts achieves nothing.
He who brags will not endure.
According to followers of the Tao, “These are extra food and unnecessary luggage.”
They do not bring happiness.
Therefore followers of the Tao avoid them.

Tao Te Ching, stanza 24.

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