Recently I got into a conversation with a colleague at work. He's not a runner, you can tell that. But he used to be a runner and, in fact, competed in County championships as a schoolboy. In more recent times he has been in and out of gyms and has been an active runner from time to time.
He asked me what I get out of running and so I explained a huge range of reasons. These included staying slim, keeping my bones, joints, lungs and heart healthy. I also went onto say about running being helpful in dealing with the stresses and strains of life; at that point he started to nod and smile.
I went onto to say it goes further in terms running being so helpful in really thinking things through, having deeper thoughts, beyond seeing things at face value and working through things in my mind. I said one last thing "when I'm deep in thought, sometimes the miles can drift by almost unnoticed". At that point he looked at me in a knowing way, I thought I could almost see his eyes welling up as we smiled at each other: he understood. He understood what being a runner is all about as he has experienced this himself.
We paused, as I say, smiling at each other. We concluded these things could only be truly understood by another runner, as simple as that.