Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen – AND RUN)
Does anyone remember Baz Luhrmann (or know him, at least)? He’s a director who is well known for the “Sunscreen Speech”, an essay written by Mary Schmich published in 1997. The essay contains exactly 28 pieces of advice which the author intended for the youth during her time, but since it is most likely that her intended audience wouldn’t take it seriously, the essay was then named “”Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted On the Young”.
The director lifted the essay and turned it into a remix of his own in the form of a song. It is most probable that you have heard this one before, but if not, take time to watch the video below.
I made my own version of this speech, for the running community. Enjoy.
Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99… wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proven by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth – for such youth gives you the drive to run longer and run harder. Run as much as you can; when you look at your life after 20 years have passed you will be glad that you started running and you will be telling yourself that it was not one of the regretful decisions that you have ever made in your lifetime.
Don’t worry if you’re never going to achieve a running goal. In fact, don’t even worry at all. This is the reason why God has given you 365 calendar days per year to train and eventually achieve it. Remember, all goals are achievable, running-related or otherwise, with a little faith, perseverance, and practicality.
Try a new running route if you get the chance.
Sing while running, if you want to.
Don’t be reckless with other runners’ feelings. They are human also, trying to reach their dreams, just like you.
Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your running records – and use them to improve yourself.
Stretch before AND after any run, long or short.
Don’t feel guilty if you didn’t get to do your required mileage for the week or if you didn’t achieve a certain distance during your run. Think of it this way – at least you will have more energy the next time you hit the treadmill or the road.
Get plenty of calcium while you’re young.
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll finish a full marathon, maybe you won’t; maybe you’ll run an ultramarathon, maybe you won’t; maybe you’ll break your personal running record, maybe you’ll win in a road race; whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half-chance, so are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body, and use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it; it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance – especially if the need calls for it.
Read the directions. You’ll be glad you did.
Do NOT compare yourself to other runners; you’ll end up being miserable.
Get to know other runners in your vicinity; you’ll never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your running buddies; they’re the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go; but for the precious few, you should hold on.
Work hard to get what you want; it will pay itself off in the future. As a cliched saying goes, “no pain, no gain”. These four words are mere drudgery to a select few, but there really is truth in it.
Live life as you normally would. NEVER make running your life, unless you’re an athlete; make running a part of your life.
Travel. And if you get the chance, run at where you’re travelling to.
Accept certain inalienable truths – for example, there are some people who are naturally gifted with speed, certain running shoes are quite expensive, or our legs will wear down after time. Only one truth is for sure – you’ll be glad you got hooked on running.
Respect the race organizer’s decision.
Support groups will be there to help you finish a race, especially a long-stretching one. But don’t expect them to help you out all the time. A little concentration and determination goes a long way.
Don’t engage in a long race without prior training – unless you have a death wish in mind.
If you can ask advice from experienced runners, don’t hesitate. They have much to offer to you and they are willing to help you out when you enter your first running event. Learn from them and heed their words – almost every single one of them will be indispensable.
But trust me on the sunscreen.