Running Quote for the Week: The Unforgiving Minute…..So What?

Our quote for this week center comes from an unlikely source, British, Victorian-era poet Rudyard Kipling, and the “unforgiving minute” is this quote:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Just sixty seconds running? What’s that all about?   Lot’s of us run for plenty of minutes, even an hour or two, several times a week, and we’re much more likely to inherit a bad case of chaffing than the Earth.  What’s the big deal here? 

These are actually the last four lines of a poem Kipling wrote in 1910 called If- which totals thirty-two lines and starts off with

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

Now we begin to see some relevance to running.  There are distractions all around you, whether it be the terrain, weather, or traffic and focusing on pace, form, and effort for each run is key in training.  In a race, competitors, crowds, and the race course are added to the mix and success in getting to the finish line is a lot about “keeping you head when all about you are losing theirs”.

If you read Kipling’s If- in entirety, you’ll find his poem is about perseverance, about overcoming barriers, and perhaps more importantly, keeping the mental discipline required for success.  And while Kipling wasn’t a runner, it’s telling he used running as a metaphor for persistence, effort, and keeping your composure with the rewards they bring.    If you run for all sixty seconds in a minute, or all sixty minutes for an hour, you might not inherit the Earth, but you’ll gain strength, discipline, and a sense of accomplishment.

Here is the full text of If-.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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ramblingsofabeerrunner

Writing about beer from the California's Silicon Valley.

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