I read a sad obituary in the Globe's Facts and Arguments page, about Don McDonald, who died near Buffalo in an airline crash earlier this year.
In these pieces, the paper usually uses a line to describe the person. For obvious reasons, it grabbed my immediate attention:
Loving husband and father, son, brother, friend, runner, outdoorsman, family man. Born March 6, 1960, in Timmins, Ont. Died Feb. 12 in Clarence Center, N.Y., aboard Continental Connection Flight 3407, aged 48.
The piece recalls his love of the sport:
Don was an accomplished long-distance runner in high school and had regained his love for the sport in recent years. He ran competitively, finishing first in his age group in many races. At the time of his death he was well into his training to qualify for the 2010 Boston Marathon. He had planned to run that race in April next year to celebrate his 50th birthday.
A very sad and haunting piece.
That, and the sad story of the Air France crash, got me thinking again about life and mortality. All can be gone in moments and we're told constantly that we should "seize the day" or live life to the fullest and that famous line: What would you want to be remembered for?
I wrote about Haruki Muarakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" before. I won't give away much by citing a passage from his book but he says he's selected what will be on his gravestone:
1949 - 20**
Writer (and Runner)
At Least He Never Walked
Yes yes, I don't want running to take over my life but can't deny it's a big part of it. Today, while I was running on a bright sunny day on the Leslie Spit, with dozens of cyclists streaming by me, I smiled as I hit a comfortable stride and the perfect beat from a song came on my Ipod. Damn I love this series of motions, running is our natural act. I want to be known as a runner, and I am, but in truth, we're all meant to run, I think. Modern life has forced us to go out alone and find it for ourselves.
15 miles, 2:07:24